How often do you update your policy and procedure manual? Do you make changes as they occur, or is it a once a year review? Do you follow your own policies? Do all those in management use it as the footprint for your daily operations? These are all important questions to consider when it comes to policies within your organization. In many agencies, the proper use of policy manuals quite frankly doesn’t exist. Let’s look at some guidelines to consider whether you need to update your current manual or you want to start new with one already updated.
Hmmm, How Long has it Been?
Let’s consider the last several years of home healthcare. We had changes to the COPs as well as infection control standards due to the current pandemic situation. As a consulting firm, we were hired so many times the first year after the initiation of the new COPs for citations and condition level deficiencies related to agencies who never adapted to the changes. Many of you may be surprised to hear that because you made changes to develop your emergency preparedness plans and altered job descriptions/functions to account for a clinical manager that met the guidelines. Administrators had to engage in ways some had never done in the past. Many of the initial citations came with policy and procedure manuals that did not account for regulations. What does that tell CMS? It says agencies do not properly keep themselves abreast of regulatory changes. CMS does not want a hands-off role of administration in daily operations. If your policy and procedure manuals don’t reflect your practice, then you are at risk for issues at survey and with personnel management. Look at these questions to ask yourself:
- Has it been 3 years or more since a solid full policy review?
- Are changes made consistently as they occur?
- Who is responsible in your agency to keep current on regulatory changes and is staff clear about the expectation?
- What is your role as admin to keep abreast of regulation and internal operations?
- What role does HR have in your policy manual changes?
Reality is, if you have a policy manual that has not been thoroughly updated within the last 3 years, you need a new one. When we enter an agency and see policy that hasn’t changed since the 80’s, it isn’t a surprise we have been consulted for issues within the organization. Your policy manual really needs to be the “bible” of your agency. The question then is to determine if you need to buy one or if your current one can be successfully and easily edited. If it has been a long time, then it really makes sense to order a completed manual that is already up-to-date with federal regulations. In addition, many online manuals have the state regulations present as a crosswalk so you can easily meet your state requirements in your manual as well. It is an easier solution than reinventing the wheel.
What type of Policy And Procedure Manual Do You Need?
At Kenyon Homecare Consulting, we offer all types of policy and procedure manuals for any kind of in-home care. Whether you need skilled, non-skilled, hospice, Medicare, or accreditation ready, Kenyon has the updated manuals. We have been approved by both CHAP and ACHC, so our manuals do not have to be reviewed at survey time for compliance to federal regulation. Call us today at 206-721-5091 or contact us online to see how we can help you make the most of your manual.