While our clients and industry colleagues often tell us they are always ready for survey, no matter what time of the year that is often not the case. In fact, if your staff was always operating at the highest level, then there would be no need for certifications, right? Unfortunately, sometimes breakdowns in processes happen that are only brought to attention by a fresh set of eyes – wouldn’t you prefer those issues be brought up by someone who wants to help you have good survey outcomes rather than surveyors? Here are some reasons why engaging with a consulting group for your facility’s mock survey is the best way to prepare for survey.
- An outsider’s perspective is more objective than an internal staff. We speak with many facilities that do their own internal mock surveys, but still engage with a third-party consultant like CMSCG to provide more perspective than they get using their own team. Compliance consultants are trained to work and think just like an actual survey team. Whether you already know your potential trouble areas and are looking for some help identifying issues or want someone to look through the whole facility, mock surveys are a great way to catch issues ahead of survey. Consulting groups also have greater knowledge of the “hot” survey issues simply because they assist many clients during survey or write the POC for cited deficiencies.
- This may be your first Quality Indicator Survey (QIS). Even if you are in a QIS state, your last survey may have been a traditional survey. Your staff may understand the concept of the QIS, but may not be fully aware of the areas of emphasis the Quality Indicator Survey has that differ from the traditional survey. Additionally, the QIS provides a great way to look at the quality of care your facility is providing, and many facilities are trying to ensure that they are incorporating areas that are being assessed during the QIS process into the facility’s procedures now, even if they aren’t in a state where the QIS has been implemented yet.
- Your systems and processes may not be current. Once policies and procedures are developed, these documents aren’t always revised to match the actual practices of the nursing facility. Revisions may have been made to regulatory guidance, and sometimes when your staff thinks they are doing things the “right” way, that is no longer considered compliant . . . leaving you open to deficiencies. A good mock survey team is fully versed in the most current changes to regulations which helps ensure your facility performs well on an upcoming survey if they address the findings of the mock survey team.
- Staff will be forced to perform under more real-life conditions. A mock survey is a great survey prep tool for a multitude of reasons, but getting your staff prepared is one that deserves its own mention. Where staff may be comfortable with a department head or someone they know from the facility observing them, an outside “surveyor” observing them will put them in a situation where there is more pressure to perform their responsibilities properly. That way, when the actual survey team enters your nursing facility, your staff has already been under a similar form of pressure and will be more relaxed.
- Residents may express their concerns more freely. Speaking to a third-party consultant during interviews allows your residents to feel more comfortable speaking their minds about any quality concerns they may have. The report provided at the conclusion of the mock survey will provide insight into areas that you may not even have been aware were potential problem areas if they were not brought up to the Resident Council. A good mock survey team makes it clear to the residents being interviewed that we are there at the request of the facility and that they want to know the issues so that they can be resolved. We often hear during the interview process “I don’t want to get anyone in trouble, but . . .” The findings of resident interviews as well as resident observations are the basis for deficiencies in many instances. So why not identify and rectify those issues before survey?
To learn about our mock survey services and how CMS Compliance Group can help your post-acute or long term care facility prepare for survey with our consulting services,please call us at 631.692.4422 or email CMSCG President Linda Elizaitis at firstname.lastname@example.org.