Q. Now that we are accredited, how do we make sure these new standards become part of our company culture?
A. To make future surveys go as smoothly as possible, you must internalize accreditation; it must become part of your company's culture. Future surveys depend on the ability to meet the challenge of running your business fully committed to the core principles and laws that govern accreditation. Namely, you must find value in the work of sustaining a higher standard of quality. For example: Clean your returned equipment prior to throwing it away to protect the community from exposure to infectious disease; keep up with documentation requirements relentlessly. As time progresses, human nature sets in and we often backslide and fail to demonstrate compliance on future surveys. Once deficiencies set in, such as failure to document patient files, forms, logs and reports, it becomes more expensive, because you've got to play catch-up to maintain accreditation. When that happens, an unannounced survey could spell denial of accreditation.
An individual should be assigned to manage compliance and standards retention for your organization. Ongoing guidance from your consulting firm is also advisable; an outside view of your operations may reveal many new opportunities to improve and refine your business and maintain compliance.
Your employees should be involved in all aspects of the accreditation process. That will help them develop a feeling of ownership and maintain high standards.
Denise Jones is a partner with the IBNetwork Inc., a consulting firm that prepares HME providers to beome accredited. Reach her at 800-447-7201.