I trust you know the drill….you are sitting at your desk, working away, dealing with the issues of the day, and your front office staffer comes to your doorway with a business card in hand.  Nope, it’s not a rep…it is a surveyor, and your day just radically changed.

Even the most organized ASC leader probably has the same response.  Your heart rate goes up a notch, you get that feeling of dread, and you close whatever you’re doing to go introduce yourself to the waiting surveyor and what the day will bring.

A couple of weeks ago, this was me.  If you don’t know, I help manage an ASC part time, when I am not providing support to new and existing centers.  I felt all those “feels” I mentioned, and went to meet the surveyor to start my new day’s path.  I then escorted the surveyor to the conference room, had the entrance interview, and got to work.

For the next two days, I pulled out and put back binders, located policies, answered questions, toured the facility, and reviewed medical records.  When all was said and done, I sat down for my exit interview, pen in hand and waited to hear about potential deficiencies.  There were none.  I escorted the surveyor out and literally did a “happy dance” in the hallway out of sight.

Here are some of the things I did that you might find helpful:

  • I put my binders on the table in alphabetical order, binders facing the surveyor.  She actually commented that she liked the arrangement, making it easier to locate what she needed.
  • I flagged key documents and policies with sticky tabs for easy reference.
  • I checked in every half hour to answer questions and provide clarification during the document review process, but I didn’t hover.
  • When I was unsure of an answer or not clear on a recommendation, I asked for clarification.
  • I kept the staff in the loop, and asked for help when I needed it. I used our “groupme” app to communicate what was going on to the staff.  (We installed the app and set up our center as a group as part of our disaster preparation plan for alternative communication).

Being organized was key.  I could tell that, when the surveyor asked for specific documents, she was pleased that I was able to locate them easily.  I feel like the process became more congenial once I established the fact that I knew where “stuff” was.  I also sent messages to the staff during the process through the “groupme” app with reminders like “wash hands/check bands!”

I’m really glad the process is over, and that our hard work and organization paid off.  I keep everything up to date by maintaining a calendar that I title “compliance calendar” in which I maintain all actions and documents required for compliance by frequency and date.  I also have an online toolkit I named “AccrediReady” that I use for myself as well as my clients that is a visual project management tool for easy compliance readiness.  If you would like more information on either, feel free to reach out to me.

I hope your next survey, whether announced or unexpected goes swimmingly, as well as your summer.


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