In consulting throughout different agencies within the US, we have seen so many different ways home health and hospice agencies operate. The thing that remains consistent and clear in all of them is that when policies and procedures do not match operations, there is always an issue. Let’s look at common things we see and where they can be landmines for agencies on a day-to-day basis.
7 Operational Landmines:
When we talk about landmines, we could mean with personnel issues, financial success, clinical practice, legal compliance, or at survey time. Having solid policy and procedures and operating manuals should be a sure guide to running your agency. In some cases, policies are not even considered as a tool. Here are 7 of the big landmines we see in agencies:
- Complaint Follow Up: When the state or accrediting body follow up on a complaint, will you be able to show adequate follow up and follow thru? Does your agency all agree on what is written up as a complaint? Do staff know and understand your complaint policy. Do they follow it?
- Personnel Issues: The biggest landmine here is if you don’t follow your own policy. You can’t provide 2 different kinds of disciplinary action to employees for the same offense in your manual. You may be on the hook for a lot more unemployment if you do.
- Reimbursement/ Compensation: Same applies here. Wages and compensation must follow the same pattern for the employees. Your policies need to be clear as to what you will and won’t pay an employee for or you will end up paying for it all.
- Labor Disputes: You have to know and follow labor laws. Make sure your policies match what is required on the federal and state levels.
- Withholding Wages: This is a very slippery slope for us in the industry. In institutional settings, the employee finishes the shifts documentation before clocking out for the day. In home health, this may be best practice and what you want as a business owner, but it doesn’t always happen. Frustrated administration can say that if documentation isn’t turned in, then you don’t get paid. Be careful though, depending upon where you are, you may not be allowed to do so.
- Continuity In Branches: Regardless the size of your agency, the way they run needs to match. You can’t have discrepancies between how office managers or nursing supervisors handle operating issues.
- Hiring Practices: This one is huge. Not only are there legal components but also retention and financial implications as well. Your processes need to be swift and have continuity in the process of interviewing and onboarding. You already have to spend so much time and money to recruit and retain employees, but have you looked to see if you miss the mark from the minute you receive the application?
Keep Your Manuals Updated Routinely:
At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we want to help you see policies and procedure as a tool and not a hindrance to smooth operations within your agency. We have fully customizable online manuals for all business lines and accrediting bodies. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online with any questions you may have about our services or online manuals. Please also consider joining us February 24th for our free webinar “Are You Afraid To Ask Who’s Minding The Store? Ensure Operational Efficiencies by Making Sure All Arms Of The Business are Efficient and in Compliance” at 10 am PST. Register today!