Post-acute care organizations are facing routine inspections and audits again, and success is crucial to maintaining accreditation and status. Yet a common misstep that facilities still face is a lack of preparation. Audits are imminent, and now is the time to pursue strategies to eliminate operational, financial, and privacy risks. Is your facility prepared?
The best defense is a good offense
Not investing in the proper time and effort it takes to prepare for an audit could jeopardize your organization’s financial viability and reputation; not to mention additional fines, tags on your building, or closures. But some facilities are taking action with interim leadership roles by hiring an additional set of experienced hands to help protect and prepare for fast-approaching audits. Popular solutions typically include:
- An extra, temporary Director of Nursing (DON) or a Registered Nurse Consultant (RNC) to solely help with audit preparation.
- A Minimum Data Set (MDS) coordinator to help prepare your facility within the audit window or to simply catch up on lagging MDS reports.
A strategic, short-term, audit-experienced hire like this can help expedite preparation without taking valuable time away from leadership. They assist in essential preparedness efforts like coding, credentialing, documentation, process management, and data governance to increase organization and avoid unnecessary violations.
While time-consuming, and often frustrating, audits do drive change towards improvement. Thorough preparation can help reveal costly errors, missing documentation, and conflicting information while encouraging knowledge-sharing, feedback, and sustained change. Now more than ever, it’s advantageous to give audits the attention they deserve and turn these headaches into opportunities for proactive compliance.
Staffing levels also play a role
Another substantial step towards audit preparedness is to bring facility staffing levels back up to par. The relationship between staffing levels and patient safety is well recognized, and even as we steer towards a post-pandemic state, workforce challenges faced by long-term care providers persist today. Many are still struggling to hire and retain staff for our most vulnerable residents.
Across a sample of 1,183 long-term care providers polled by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), 78% of nursing homes and 61% of assisted living communities are concerned workforce challenges might force closures, with nearly all facilities asking staff to work overtime or extra shifts.
These workforce shortages and their ripple effects towards burnout, compassion fatigue, and resignations are top of mind, as improving employee satisfaction remains a top strategy for attracting and retaining quality talent. This will continue to improve as healthcare facilities work to build back a resilient workforce, improve patient care, and strengthen their strategies for audit preparedness.
If you’re curious about other post-acute care topics or other healthcare staffing trends, Medical Solutions is a provider of total workforce solutions and can address your unique questions and challenges. Contact our client services team to start a conversation at any time.