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Are You Abusing Your Policy And Procedure Manual? Read This to Understand Why Misuse Can Abuse Your Policy. Make Your Policy An Asset Instead Of A Hindrance!

decisionLet’s face it. This is a litigious world. You run your agency the best way you know how. If you make the patient the focus, then you should be good. Right? Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Let’s look at ways to make sure you unknowingly don’t “abuse” your policy and procedure manual.  

The “Do Not” Of The Policy And Procedure Manual: 

It is important to avoid landmines in use of your policy and procedure manual. Here are some mistakes agencies make. 

  • Do Not Have A Manual In Pieces: All policies should be together in one place and easily accessable for all employees. Regardless of what type of policy, everyone need to know where to see every policy.  
  • Do Not Make Changes To Suit Every Situation Differently: This is a big one when it comes to employees. You put a policy in place for a reason. So, do not make changes to how you run your agency based on one employee. An employer can get into trouble if one employee is treated differently than another. Consider the employee who has been stellar and makes a policy infraction worthy of termination. If you terminate one and don’t another, you can get yourself into trouble.   
  • Do Not Make Changes Contrary To State And Federal Regulation: This is a common agency mistake. Sometimes, operational changes may make sense for your agency, but make sure regulations don’t get violated in the process.  
  • Do Not Put Your Manual On A Shelf To Collect Dust: The manual needs to be a tool that allows you to run your agency properly. If you don’t use it, then it isn’t a good tool.  The “fly by the seat of your pants” method is stressful and risky for you as an owner. You also need to keep it up to date. This means it needs to be evaluated for efficacy and compliance regularly.  

Ok, My Manual Needs Help: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have manuals for all types of home care services. Please call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see if we can help you get the manual you need. All our manuals can be downloaded online and are fully customizable.  

To Purchase Or Not To Purchase? That Is The Million Dollar Policy Manual Question. Now, You Just Need To Make The Decision.

QuestionWhether you are starting a brand-new agency or have been in business for years, you need an up-to-date policy manual. It needs to be useful and effective to help run your business. If you can’t say it is either, you need to look at a new one. 

Do You Write The Policy Manual Yourself? 

If your manual has been kept up-to-date and ultimately just needs a few things added, then doing it yourself may be your best bet. This may be a very easy process if you have been in the industry for a long time. If regulatory compliance is old hat for you, then it may seem easier. In order to make this decision, you may need to “grade” your current manual first. Ask yourself a few things: 

  • Do you clearly communicate with staff? 
  • How often do you review and update? 
  • Is your manual easy to access and update? 
  • How organized are you? 
  • How easy is your policy manual to follow for someone who didn’t write it? 

These affect how well you can write a manual. You can’t be unorganized and unable to communicate well but put out an easy to understand and follow manual. Unfortunately, this happens more than you think. 

Benefits To Purchasing A New Manual: 

Benefits to purchasing an updated manual often outweigh the alternative for business owners. Here are some of the bigger ones. 

  • Saves time 
  • Saves money 
  • Easy to update 
  • Compliance Ready 
  • Can be customized to include state and agency operations 

Now, You Need To Decide: 

If your policy manual is in great shape and you don’t need to consider a new one, then you are good to go. If you aren’t sure, then the answer is to talk with someone about it. At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we can evaluate your current manual, help you update it, or get you an up-to-date customizable one. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for your free 30-minute consultation with a senior associate.

We Purchased A New Policy And Procedure Manual? Now What? What Is Next In The Road Map?

EditIn home care and hospice, having an updated policy and procedure manual is necessary. Whether you are considering a purchase or have already done so, there are some steps to finish the process. Let’s look at what still needs done. 

Add Your State Rules: 

Even though customized manuals have updated regulations for Medicare and accreditation, it doesn’t have your state regs. Unless you buy a manual that has your state accounted for, you must add what is necessary for compliance. You may be able to find manuals specific to your state regs through state associations or consulting agencies contracted to provide them to your state. 

What’s In Your Manual: 

If you purchase a manual, print it and sit it on a shelf, then you miss what you gain. The manual is customizeable for a reason. It allows for easy updates and changes specific to your workflow. You still want to make it easy and clear to follow how your agency complies with specific regulations. This doesn’t mean you need to update everthing in your new policy and procedure manual. It means you will want to customize some. An updated manual saves time and money, but still requires you to add specificity. 

Operation Manuals: 

Customizing your manual is huge in operations. You should have HR involved in what relates to employee procedure. This helps erase ambiguity handling employee benefits and personnel issues. Ambiguity can be difficult to defend in times of both. Workflow, chain of command, job descriptions, and evaluations are all part of a functional manual. Add or subtract what is specific to you from your purchased manual. 

Do You Need To Update Or Customize? 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we offer online policy and procedure manuals for purchase. A senior consultant can also help you customize for your state or agency dependent upon your needs. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online today for a free consultation with a senior consultant. 

Customizing Your Puchased Policy And Procedure Manual Is Very Important. Make It Specific For Employees And Very Specific For Surveyors!

policy and procedureMany of you out there purchased an updated policy and procedure manual. That’s great. You saved time and cost. Now, the next important step is completing the manual edits specific to your agency. This will help you with employees and with survey! 

Get Survey Ready: 

When a company has a manual policy and procedure manual online for purchase, it has the regulations there to make you compliant. If you don’t add or subtract what it specific to your agency, then you will be cited. Read your new manual and see where you need to tweak a policy to make it specific to you. For example, infection control is so huge with all surveys. Maybe you have policy that differs to what is in your new manual. Change what is necessary or alter your clinical operations. If you follow a specific bag technique that adds steps from what is in the new manual, then make sure to add it. Your new manual will have ALL federal and/or accrediation regulations in it, but those policies cannot be so specific as to match every agency in the United States. Individual rules related to states will need added.

Employee Guidelines: 

This is such an important feature for the people you employ. As an administrator, you do not want policy so rigid that it leaves no room for flexibility. However, ambiguity in policy can cost you a lot as well. When considering employee labor, unclear policies will always favor the employee. In these cases, it doesn’t matter what the intent of the policy was. It will be what the employee thought it meant. Clinically speaking, there will be issues if employees follow a vague policy in the field. This can lead to errors and survey deficiencies.  The big picture is, do not take your policy and procedure manual and just place it in a binder on a shelf. This will not help your operations. It will not make things clear for employees.

Need Help With A New Manual? 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have manuals for all types of service lines in home care. These can be easily edited online to fit your state and agency-specific needs. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online if you need help.  

How Good Is Your Policy And Procedure Manual? It Can Only Be As Good As The One Writing It!

Test YourselfA well-written policy and procedure manual is important for your home care regardless the line of service. Here’s the thing: Do you know if yours is well-written? If you aren’t sure, then you need to consider all that goes into a good policy and procedure manual. 

Communication Is Key: 

How well do you communicate with staff? Think about times you have meant to communicate one thing and staff interpretation was different? If that is your reality, then how well does your policy and procedure manual say what you need? You may have other staff that writes your policy.  Regardless of who writes the actual policy, have a policy committee read it and interpret its meaning. There is a fine line between too strict a policy and too vague. 

Is It Electronically Available To All Employees? 

A perfect manual is not useful if staff can’t easily access it.  In this technology-driven world, a policy and procedure manual should be simple to view. In addition, the manual should be easy for you to update. Clinical staff need the ability to access procedures in the home during patient care. Staff also need to understand bonus payouts, leave time, and disciplinary policies. The clearer you are, the more defensible policies are in employee disputes. 

How Organized Are You? 

Consider that a well-written policy and procedure manual is organized and easy to follow. So, if you aren’t organized, you may want to have someone else methodically write your policies. You would still be integral in communicating what needs to be in them, but that detail-oriented employee is usually a good choice for policy writing. 

Do You Have The Time It Takes To Keep Your Manual Up-To-Date? 

New regulations, personnel issues, and clinical policy take a lot of time to create and update. You must be careful to hit all the regulations. Make sure you have a work product and processes that avoid confusion.  It is time intensive trying to keep up with regulation changes, so you need to decide if it makes more sense to buy a manual you can edit instead of starting from scratch. 

Kenyon HomeCare Consulting: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have manuals ready for download and edit today! Whether you need accreditation-ready, skilled, or private duty. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to discuss if this option is right for you!

So, You Decided To Purchase An Updated Policy And Procedure Manual. Let’s Look At All The Things You Can Do With The Time You Saved!

let it goWriting new policy and procedure manuals is a big job. Researching regulations and making sure you write policies that comply with them is tough. There are so many ways to better use your time managing your agency. Let’s take a look. 

Why Buy A Policy And Procedure Manual? 

Here are 5 reasons a purchased manual makes a whole lot of sense over the alternative: 

  • Electronic: Easy to access and change. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: It’s already done. 
  • Time Saved: This is time saved for you as well as any staff involved. 
  • Cost-Effective: “Time is money” and whether it is you or staff completing the manual, this is time better spent elsewhere on things that can make your agency money. 
  • Accreditation Ready: CHAP and ACHC manuals are available. 

How To Best Use That Additional Time: 

How many times do you leave the office thinking there is so much more to do? If it is daily, then consider things that make your agency better. 

  • Operation Changes: Since the final rule is out there, it is time to think about the changes you need to make now. 
  • Marketing: This is a good time to look at different marketing strategies. 
  • Strengthen Partnerships: When have you last personally touched base with your healthcare partners? 
  • Strengthen Your Team: Time spent with your team is always money well spent. Help them reach common goals. 
  • Take A Deep Breath: Leaders need to take time too. Family, health, and happiness all suffer when you can’t step away from the grind. 

Kenyon Homecare Consulting Has What You Need: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have manuals for different lines of service. Whether you need accreditation ready or not, check out Kenyon Marketplace to download what you need. Senior consultants can work to add state specific requirements should you desire assistance. If not, download your manual and customize specific to your agency. Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online for any questions or concerns.

 

Home Health Manuals: Purchase One Or Do It Yourself? Which One Makes Sense In The Big Scheme Of Things?

policy and procedure manualYou have so many things to deal with running a home care business. Regulations change and so do policies and procedure accordingly. Keeping home care manuals up-to-date and useful can be tough sometimes. Here, we look at several reasons why purchasing one is your best bet. 

5 Reasons Purchasing Home Care Manuals Is A Great Option: 

If you aren’t sure, think through these 5 reasons and decide if buying a manual is your answer to policy and procedure: 

  • Time: First and foremost, it takes time to develop a manual. It takes a lot of time. From regulations to personnel, a well-written policy manual is no small task. 
  • Cost: It may seem like a lot of money to purchase a home care manual, but not when you consider the time element to start one from scratch.  In addition, updating an outdated one may even be more cumbersome. 
  • Electronic/Accessibility: If you purchase manuals today, electronic formats allow easy access for employees in the field or in the office. 
  • Convenience/Accreditation: Purchased manuals allow agencies to easily edit anything specific to your agency or state. This way, there is always up-to-date info in your manual without starting over every time.  Accreditation manuals are available to account for any additional standards with ACHC or CHAP. 
  • Customization/Compliance: There are so many different types of agencies. Whether you are a private duty home care, skilled home health, or hospice, manuals are ready dependent upon your line of business.  Senior level experts have been working on manuals for years, so you don’t have to worry if information is up-to-date. 

Kenyon Homecare Consulting: 

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, if you need an updated manual, then we have it.  We offer multiple different manuals dependent upon your lines of service. Our senior level consultants help with specific customization for your state, but the process is easy for the individual agency to edit themselves as well. We can help your agency with accreditation, survey compliance, or help set up process measures.  Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online today for your free 30-minute consultation with a senior consultant.

 

The Basis Of A Good Policy And Procedure Manual Is Making It Clear, Easy To Follow, And Accurate! Is Yours All Three?

policy and procedure manualWith home care regulations changing so frequently, having an updated policy and procedure manual is very important. In fact, if you are not evaluating the accuracy of your manual routinely, it probably isn’t up-to-date. This is a compliance and operational problem for agencies.

A Policy And Procedure Manual In The Past:

Manuals used to be something to tweak related to internal operations. You added a new position or employee benefits and changed your manual with it.  The policy and procedure manual didn’t require complexity. If you think this is how your manual is today, then it definitely needs to change.

And Today:

Your policy and procedure manual requires routine changes. Outdated manuals set you up for deficiency before your survey gets started. The industry faced so many changes with the new COPs and Emergency Preparedness. You thought you could take a breather. Then, CMS dropped the final rule at the end of October.  Whether you are dealing with the Review Choice Demonstration or trying to wrap your head around the PDGM, it is a lot.

So, How Do You Start?:

Where you start often depends on how old the majority of your policies are.  The more outdated, the more overhwelming, time-consuming, and costly it is .So, you need a manual that is easy to edit and doesn’t seem like a never-ending maze. Consider purchasing a Medicare Ready or Accreditation Ready Manual that allows for easy updating to make the manual specific to your staff and organization. It should be something you can download and edit directly at anytime. Make the manual available online for employees on an intrasite so all can easily see changes when the occur. A manual that only requires updates to your current agency allows you to focus on all the other changes.

We Have Many Manuals To Help You Get Compliant:

At Kenyon HomeCare Consulting, we have Medicare and accreditation ready manuals for CHAP and ACHC to get you up-to-date. They require changes only to what personalizes your organizational policy. It makes a big difference when you start with a manual updated with all the current regulations and COPS.  Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online if you would like to speak about our downloadable manuals. They are available directly from the website. Let us make your way to compliance a little easier.

What’s In A Name? Does Your Policy And Procedure Manual Mean Different Things To Different Employees? Make It Easy And Straighforward. It Should Be An Easy To Follow Road Map And Not A Never-Ending Maze!

Lost-Very LostThere is a lot of focus on home care changes in the last several years. COP changes, the new pre-claim review, EMR intergration etc.  However, all these changes occur around what appears to be a stagnant policy and procedure manual.  As much as your day-to-day operations change, your manual should reflect the same. Most of the time, this is not the case. Let’s discuss how to make your manual a tool and not a potential hindrance.

What’s In A Good Policy And Procedure Manual?:

This is important.  If you do not know the integral pieces, then they are often missed. The first step begins with a full review of what you currently have in place.  Then, let’s look at 5 key areas that need to have ongoing updates in your policy and procedure manual.

  • Regulatory Changes: This is not just a copy and paste of CMS or state regulation. It also means that your agency needs to understand and be able to communicate how the regulation has been implemented.
  • Organizational Chart: Sometimes, agencies will have the same organizational chart on the manual, but certain positions no longer exist in the business. It is also common for changes to the name of a position, but no change to the org chart, which puts you at risk for survey citation.
  • Job Descriptions: Make sure your job descriptions depict what your staff are really responsible to do.  This makes accountability easier and eliminates questions as to what role the employee plays.
  • Performance Evaluations: Your evals should mirror exactly what the job description says. However, this is often not the case.  If the employer wishes to address accountability or reward performance, then the eval tool must be clear. If not, then it also becomes difficult to evaluate all employees objectively.  This can be a problem for you as an employer. The “yardstick” by which staff are graded cannot change lengths for an arbitrary or vague rule book.  Employees need a clear guideline for expectations.
  • Clinical Procedures: Are staff taught clinical operations according to clinical procedure and best practice? This is very important.  For example: many procedure manuals have outdated policies on wound care priniciples. Do you still see wet-to-dry dressings part of best practice in your agency? If so, then you are definitely in need of updating. Look specifically to those with expertise in the field to update your clinical policies as needed. Employees need clear clinical policies to guide practice in the field.

We Can Help!:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we have Medicare accreditation ready manuals available on the website under Kenyon Marketplace. Whether you need private duty or a skilled policy and procedure manual, you can find it there for download. It has the abaility for you to edit anything you need specific to your state and your agency.  Call us at 206-721-5091 or contact us online with any questions.

A Policy And Procedure Manual Is Much More Important Than What You Realize. Why Updating It In A Regular Basis Is Like Putting The Car In The Shop To Make Sure It Runs Like A Well-Oiled Machine.

policy and procedure manualYour policy and procedure manual is something that needs attention to be functional.  This should not be new information. But, looking at your manual with objective fresh eyes may be.  Let’s look at some things you may overlook in updating your manual, especially in the clinical realm.

Job Descriptions:

When you look at your policy and procedure manual, when was the last time you tweaked job descriptions? If you pull the one for your nurses, then you may see the same thing that has been there for years.  Well, think about that for a second. Is the job of the the RN in home health the same as it was 10 years ago? Absolutely not.  Although basic requirements remain, the day-to-day is very different. EMRs, ACOs, Value Based Purchasing and regulatory changes all make what your nurses must do today very different than the past. If you think about the job description today, it needs to match the performance requirements that go along with it.

Performance Evaluations:

As you work very hard for your agency, you want the same type of commitment from your staff.  Outdated performance evaluations don’t give you or the employees the feedback needed to be useful. Make your job descriptions clear and thorough to allow your evals to truly paint the picture of performance. Doing so allows you to address performance issues as well as commend employees when things have been done over and above the call of duty. If your agency provides performance bonuses, it is important to make the process consistent. This is difficult to do if evals don’t clearly define performance measures.  Evaluations should have a range for performance.  An exceeds, meets, or needs improvement scale doesn’t give you the flexibility of defining performance.  A 1-5 scale or something of the like gives the employer a better system for evaluation.

Clincal Procedures:

These are very important when you look at day-to-day operations. Do your current policies incorporate best practices? Do you know? A good example is wound care. Some manuals show policies that do not show up-to-date moist wound healing principles. These are all things to consider when updating clinical policies. With advancements in technology and product selection, an outdated manual may not even list particluar classes of product that are useful today. If your policy and procedure manual doesn’t distinguish the difference in care of a surgical wound versus a stasis ulcer, if isn’t useful to care. It also creates compliance issues.

Let Us Help Update You Manual:

At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, policy and procedure manuals are available directly on-site for download at the Kenyon Marketplace. There are accreditation ready manuals for both home health and private duty. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to learn more.