Why Policy and Procedure Management is critical for Healthcare Industry?
Procedural management doesn’t stop at documentation and training. Once policies and procedures have been documented and put in place, they must be kept on record and updated as necessary. A high degree of organization and coordination is required to keep records current and available for scrutiny when necessary. A good document management system is a small investment which will make policy and procedure management an easier task for all concerned.
While there are numerous document management applications on the market, one which is specifically designed for a healthcare environment offers clear advantages in terms of simple implementation and ongoing record maintenance. IdTracks-Docs from HealthDox is one such application that even includes a sample policy base and references from the CMS and other regulatory bodies. As an aid to compliance, its powerful features offer the next best thing to an extra pair of hands to keep psychiatric facilities a step ahead of the regulators.
Why Planning and Policies are key to Compliance?
Since the problem of resource and staffing isn’t one that’s easy to resolve, the answer must lie in making the best of what each institution has. That means familiarizing staff with CoP requirements and behavioral healthcare standards. Once familiarization has been achieved, staff performance must be managed against policies and procedures that support compliance to the standards.
Leaders must be aware of four key building blocks to managing compliance to healthcare standards, these building blocks are:
- A management strategy that puts a focus on compliance.
- Forming policies and procedures which support the strategy.
- Documenting the policies and procedures.
- Training and policing the procedures.
Of course, maintaining procedures is a challenge in a field of medicine where each patient has very unique care needs. However, by documenting processes where possible and training staff to follow them, every effort is clearly being made to comply with healthcare standards.
Why Psychiatric Institutions need to keep up with CoP Compliance?
Any healthcare institution in the United States accepting reimbursement via Medicare and Medicaid must demonstrate compliance with the Conditions of Participation as set out by the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). This includes psychiatric hospitals and behavioral health institutions. However, of late, renewed interest by the CMS in mental healthcare establishments has found many of them wanting.
Recent sanctions imposed against psychiatric hospitals have included the enforcement of systems improvement agreements, revocation of participation and in the most extreme cases, hospital closures. Although the CMS doesn’t have the direct power to close institutions, removal of certification can have a huge impact on hospitals that receive most of their funding via Medicare and Medicaid.
Why is CMS focusing on Behavioral Care?
More than any other health care sector, psychiatric and behavioral healthcare institutions are subject to complaints of patient mistreatment. Allegations are frequently made by patient’s family members, advocacy groups and even hospital staff. The ever-vigilant media is fast to sniff out and report on such allegations, bringing them into public awareness. Inevitably, scrutiny by regulatory bodies becomes necessary.
It seems that typically, psychiatric facilities suffer from a lack of standardization, resources and staff. This, along with the volatility of many patients, presents conditions where patient mistreatment is far more likely than in other facilities or, at least, where accusations of such are more likely to be made. So how can behavioral health leaders prepare for any regulatory scrutiny and ensure compliance with TJC behavioral health standards and the CMS conditions of participation?