The Agency for Health Care Administration is responsible for the licensure and regulation of Assisted Living Facilities. They monitor and enforce Regulation compliance.
It’s no secret that the less time AHCA is in your facility the chances go way down for your ALF to get cited by them.
So let’s look at some steps that you can take in order to keep AHCA from paying you those friendly visits that we all love.
First, let’s talk about why they come to see us. If you have a standard, LMS, ECC license they technically should only bother you biannually to do a re-licensure survey. If you have an LNS license, unfortunately, they will visit every 6 months. So that’s not so bad once every two years.
The frustrations come from compliant calls that result in AHCA complaint investigations. So to help keep AHCA out of your building due to complaints we are going to focus on ways to reduce and eliminate complaints.
Who Calls In Compliant’s?
Before we can address how to minimize and reduce complaints let’s look at who calls in complaint’s
- Medical third parties
When it comes to residents it is very important that you get out of your office and that you talk with your residents or you make time to speak with your residents by scheduling a monthly meeting with them. It is a very good idea as residents get to voice their issues and complaints directly with you. It is also very important that you make a valid effort to take care of their issues that they might have, this little step will go a long way in preventing residents from filing complaints. Make sure to document all conversations and outcomes. Most of the time just a simple 5-minute conversation can avoid hours unnecessarily consumed by on AHCA complaint. Sometimes you will run into residents that just cannot be pleased and are not realistic if this is the case then you are unable to meet their needs and I would recommend a 45 days notice.
When it comes to family and friends of residents it is also important that you make time to make yourself available to them and offer your assistance and ask if everything is okay and if there is anything you can do to make things better. I would also make an effort to schedule at least a monthly phone conversation with them to address and ask if they have any concerns. Again, it is very important that you follow up with any issues and that you resolve them. Also, make documentation of these conversations. It is also not uncommon to find Family Feuds between family members. One family member is upset that they didn’t make the decision of picking the facility or one family member would rather their loved one be home etc. When this is the case the upset family member will take action sometimes that include filing complaints to try and prove that the other family member was wrong by selecting the facility in a lot of cases this is a bad situation and I would try to meet with both family members to try to iron things out if not you might be better off giving a 45 days notice as you are caught in between the Family Feud and in the long run you will be the one to run into issues.
Medical Third Parties
Another group that calls in complaints is visiting Healthcare third parties these are Home Health Care nurses, hospice individuals, doctors, etc. A lot of times these individuals have big egos and if they feel they were not treated properly or disrespected or your staff was rude with them they will get upset very easily and to get back at you they will file a complaint. My recommendation is that you treat anyone that walks into your building with the utmost respect and offer as much help as you can. I understand that some people are hard to deal with and have attitudes sometimes but it is in your best interest to bite your tongue and do the best that you can so these individuals leave on good terms and not upset and look for revenge.
In closing keeping AHCA out of your building all comes down to preventing complaints which all boil down to people skills and taking the time to talk to individuals Residents, Family, Third Parties and hearing out their concerns and complaints and do the best that you can to resolve the issues with them. Make sure that you follow up, ignoring issues and not listening will always lead to people feeling that you don’t care and feeling angry. Leading them to think that the only way that they can get a resolution or to get back at you is to call the complaint hotline.