HAMDEN, Conn., Sept. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Making the grade for state licensure, Medicare certification and accreditation requires that health care organizations have well-prepared teams and processes for delivering high-quality care. With so much riding on a credentialing survey, it's no wonder that home health and hospice providers and some private home care providers invest significant time and attention to ensure they demonstrate competency and compliance with regulations and standards.
According to Kimberly Skehan, RN, MSN, HCS-D, COS-C, Director of Regulatory and Quality Consulting at Simione Healthcare Consultants, the dynamic of survey readiness is changing among trade associations, accrediting bodies and business consultants, who are urging providers to go beyond the idea of "getting ready" for survey and start thinking about working differently. "Agencies that make survey education a more frequent and ongoing exercise will facilitate an 'always ready' mindset," Skehan says. "We encourage providers to take a long-term approach to performance improvement, focus on developing reliability in home care and hospice, and maintain a constant state of readiness to transcend the 'ramp up, ramp down' mentality of the survey timetable."
What is Survey Readiness?
Survey Readiness is the collective body of activities that home-based care providers conduct to assess and improve performance with the purpose of earning and maintaining approval from a state survey agency and/or one of the industry's three accrediting and certifying bodies – Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), Community Health Accreditation Partner (CHAP), and The Joint Commission.
Simione Healthcare Consultants, in addition to accrediting bodies and national and state trade associations, plays a key role in educating and supporting home health and hospice providers regarding regulation and the adoption of Home Health and Hospice Conditions of Participation (CoPs) to ensure high-quality care.
"Survey deficiencies have increased significantly in both home health and hospice, even for providers with no prior issues. From first-time survey to plan of correction and everything in between, providers may lack insight on patterns occurring during survey site visits. An independent assessment and educational resources can be beneficial to accelerate the process within an agency," says Skehan. "Thankfully, resources are plentiful."
Survey Readiness = Ready for Growth
When Riverways of Ozarks Medical Center, West Plains, Missouri, set a path for strategic growth in 2015, the organization embarked on a "soup to nuts" evaluation of its three business lines with a combined census of 400+. Holly Isom, RN, Administrator/Director of the Medicare/Medicaid-certified provider of home health, hospice and support services, engaged Simione for an operations, finance and sales/marketing assessment, which led to a hospice initiative focused on quality improvement and revenue growth in Riverways' seven-county rural market. In 2016 and 2017, Simione completed the operations assessment, additional training and a home health mock survey and hospice plan of correction, all with successful results.
"Even when you have a strong organization, you have to recognize when you need outside help to achieve new levels of performance. We had high aspirations for growing hospice, and survey readiness was a primary goal," Isom explains. "We wanted to maintain regulatory compliance and accreditation during significant changes in our organization that involved staffing, EMR training and subsequent plans to conduct quality, case management and supervisory training. Simione did a tremendous job, working side by side with our staff and building confidence through teamwork. Our experience greatly helped with retention, because team members said they felt engaged in the process that they had helped to improve."
It's All About Education & Collaboration
With so many components to survey readiness, home health and hospice agencies and private home care providers will benefit from an ongoing plan to assimilate regulatory changes and create opportunities for team development. Simione recommends that providers develop an infrastructure that includes routine monitoring, periodic training, an internal mock survey every 6 months, and a "dress rehearsal" by an independent expert every year. Survey readiness work by Simione includes:
- Expert Regulatory Guidance
- Policy Manual Review & Development
- Comprehensive Mock Surveys: Licensure, Certification, Recertification, Accreditation
- Plan of Correction Development, Follow-up & Implementation
- State/CMS Independent Consultant Oversight
- CoPs Training & Readiness Assessment
- Survey Readiness Training
- QAPI & Emergency Preparedness Program Review, Development & Support
- Initial Certification/Startup Assistance
"Whether single agency, multi-site and/or multi-state, providers need to prepare for increasing regulatory scrutiny. We strive to make sense of all the industry churn and crystallize all of the developments and changes into actionable work that promotes progress," says Skehan.
For more information on survey readiness, read the full advisory.
About Simione Healthcare Consultants
Simione Healthcare Consultants advances quality and cost efficiency, providing reliable experts, technology and tools to grow and improve home- and community-based services. Visit Simione.com or call 844.215.8825
Contact: Linda Wiseman
SOURCE Simione Healthcare Consultants