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.