Mary Ellen Conway: Avoid survey horror show

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

There's a massive game of "telephone" going on in the industry right now, and everyone's talking accreditation, says consultant Mary Ellen Conway, president of Capital Healthcare Group. Yet, just like when you played the game as a child, the horror stories that circulate are often far from the truth by the time they reach the end of the line. In her Medtrade Spring session "Survey Says? Your Answer Sheet in Advance," Conway offers providers straight talk about what to really expect in an accreditation survey; she'll dispel misconceptions and rumors and offer a strategy for getting prepared for your survey. She gave HME News this sneak peek at her topic.
HME News: What are some of the common survey rumors and misconceptions?
Mary Ellen Conway: I've heard people say that their surveyor walked out in the middle of the survey for no reason. Or providers will say that the surveyor came in with an agenda. One misconception providers have is that only the company owner or select employees will have to deal with the surveyor, so they don't prepare the rest of their staff. In reality, a surveyor can talk to any of your staff
HME: On a scale of 1-10, how are providers doing when it comes to preparing for their survey?
Conway: In my conuslting, I never see providers who are at a 10. I either see them at a zero because they don't know where to start, or they're at a four or a five and just want me to tell them what still needs to be done.
HME: What are the most common deficiencies?
Conway: The biggest one is infection control. They aren't observing procedures properly, especially in the field. The second one is physicians' orders; they think a referral is an order, and it's not. Or they think they don't need an order from a hospice, which they do.
HME: What are the most common misperceptions?
Conway: Sometimes providers go way overboard on their documentation because they are not sure what to do.
HME: What's the key to minimizing the stress and hassle of the survey?
Conway: Give yourself adequate time to prepare and don't try to rush through things. HME