You’re moving into the new year, getting ready to accept new challenges in home care - not taking all the baggage from last year with you. To get the year off to a lighter start, take action on those things you need to do for annual compliance in home care. Keep your records straight and prevent getting in trouble and worrying! Make sure we're getting the end of this year finished up right! First and foremost, don’t forget if you've completed compliance action items and have not documented them, it's not technically done, right? You have to document and be able to prove to the state when they visit you.
Next, let's cover your annual home care emergency preparedness plan or drill. In Texas, we’re required to do either a drill or a plan once a year. For example, if you've done the plan because you had some sort of emergency, then you don't also have to do a drill. Check it off your list as long as it's documented. If you've not yet made a plan, you still have a little time this year to knock out a drill before the end of the year. I highly recommend you get on that! Check your state regulations for the requirements and if you have some questions about it, get on my website. I can help you!
Now for your QAPI- quality assurance and performance improvement plan. If you are a Medicaid state funded agency, you're required to complete it at least twice a year. I recommend you do your QAPI more often if you're a large agency. If you have eighty to a hundred clients or more, quarterly is probably better. Involve your whole team when you're doing your QAPI. If this has been overwhelming you, consider taking the Simplify QAPI course to learn how to not only perform your QAPI for non-medical home care, but how to embrace it- and use this process to TRULY improve your agency’s performance!
Next step is completing your annual agency evaluation (part of the QAPI process). That means looking at the big picture of overall operations, your marketing efforts and their effectiveness, your budget, and whether or not you're staying within it. It also means looking at your recruiting efforts and the conversion from applicants to employees as well as their longevity. Consider if they are staying around? Are they not? Is there something we can be doing better to retain them? Look at everything under compliance such as your actual client care, your quality assurance, your emergency plans and if your policies are up to date. Were there new requirements that your state implemented through regulations this year that still need to be added to your policies? All of these items need to be evaluated annually. You almost can't go wrong as long as you're doing it. That's what the state wants to see.
Don’t forget your employee requirements! Make sure that their performance evaluations are done annually. Some agencies, rather than complete them on the anniversary of each employee, they’ll complete all of them once a once a year. An idea is to pick one month per year for everyone’s evaluations. Some people may be early but they'll never be late. That gives your agency an overall plan and lessens the chaos around getting those evaluations done throughout the year, because it can be a struggle to get your staff to come into the office. Remember to sign that paperwork! That is part of your compliance. Your home care administrator and alternate administrator also need evaluating as well.
Staff background checks need to be done annually. Some of those need to be done monthly along with any training. Now in Texas, our annual training minimum requirement is only on emergency preparedness, infection control, and any updated policies that you might have for the year.
Your administrative continuing education is very important and has to be in your file. If you are late on those, do what you need to do to catch up. I don't ever recommend backdating anything. Oftentimes when your state surveyor comes in, if they see that you've already caught a problem and fixed it moving forward, they are a bit more lenient.
Lastly is Client care, client supervisory visits, and reassessments per your policy. Sometimes those need to be done annually, and in private pay situations I recommend they be done more often.
Click below for this video on Home Care End of the Year Compliance