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Three Steps to Maintaining Compliance in Post-Acute Healthcare

May 8, 2024
May 8, 2024

Maintaining compliance in the post-acute healthcare arena comes with some significant challenges. New regulatory and reimbursement requirements can come at a dizzying and somewhat unpredictable pace, and leaders are facing significant staffing shortages. What can leaders do to ensure full compliance and maximum reimbursement?

A recent HealthStream webinar entitled “Three Steps to Maintaining Compliance in Post-Acute Healthcare” helped leaders with solutions for these issues. The webinar was moderated by HealthStream’s Caroline Acree and featured presenters:

  • Robyne Wilcox, Vice President, Quality and Compliance
  • Mandie Lane, MSN, RN, Senior Program Editor, Regulatory and Compliance, Content Development Team

Maintaining Compliance in Post-Acute Care – Why is It So Hard?

Lane began by acknowledging that maintaining compliance in the post-acute setting is difficult. She shared that it is one of the most highly-regulated settings in healthcare. This complex regulatory landscape consists of many layers of regulations and requirements from federal, state and local regulators. Compounding the issue of the sheer number of regulators are the constant updates and new requirements. In addition, post-acute care providers typically operate on razor thin budgets and are struggling with significant staffing challenges while under pressure to provide compassionate care for some of the most vulnerable populations.

Wilcox went on to share some findings from a recent HealthStream survey of hundreds of healthcare leaders across a variety of settings. A persistent finding from the survey is that leaders report a lack of time, resources and expertise to feel confident in their compliance management efforts. Wilcox also pointed out that many of those survey respondents significantly underestimate the time and resources required to maintain a reliable compliance program. She went on to point out that failing to allocate the necessary time and resources to regulatory compliance may result in fines. Those fines have cost the industry more than half a billion dollars within the last three years.

Improving Compliance in Three Steps

Lane shared three key steps for leaders to consider as they develop strategies to administer and improve their compliance management programs.

1. Expert Compliance and Education: The first is building a compliance and education program using expert sources. It is critical to partner with experts that can ensure awareness of all regulatory agencies, and provide understanding of and strategies for maintaining compliance. She shared that HealthStream’s Regulatory Support Team is able to monitor and interpret new and updated regulations. That information is then used to develop educational content ensuring that learning modules reflect current regulatory requirements.

Wilcox elaborated further by encouraging leaders to select expert partners that are able to provide up-to-date content, however; the partnership should not end there. Experts should be able to provide a good learning experience for learners. They should be adept in instructional design and have expertise in building courses that learners want to take and will complete. They should also provide reporting that helps leaders get information on course completions and identifies staff who may be behind on their assignments.

2. Hand-in-Hand Support: Both presenters emphasized the importance of hand-in-hand support. Wilcox described support that includes contextual expertise. She went on to share that HealthStream has an expert team dedicated to each care setting. “For example, our program for adult and aging care is developed by experts and caregivers who are active in the field today,” said Wilcox. These experts are keeping pace with the latest in best practices for skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care facilities.

HealthStream has also provided a more flexible approach for learners. The course uses micro-learning that focuses on a single concept and can be completed in a matter of minutes. Of course, there are also courses that meet regulatory requirements that may take up to one hour to complete and result in continuing education credit and help ensure that learners are completely prepared to care for residents.

Wilcox went on to encourage leaders to partner with organizations that have a dedicated team of compliance experts that can keep up with the rapid pace of change in this setting. HealthStream has a full staff that is dedicated to tracking and interpreting new and changing requirements. “I think you need a partner whose business it is to keep pace with requirements and build expert courses that learners will actually take which will allow leaders to focus on the business of running their facilities,” said Wilcox.

3. Confidence and Readiness: The result of having a partner that provides expertise and support is crucial to building staff and organizational confidence and readiness. Leaders can be confident that the courses that they are assigning are current, compliant and provide the latest best practices. HealthStream customers can also feel confident as the platform provides a dashboard and reporting that can help leaders document compliance and feel prepared for surveyors. In addition, learners simply feel more prepared and confident in their skills.

HealthStream can help your organization, your leaders, and your staff feel more confident in the care that is being provided to residents. A dedicated team of experts in compliance provides up-to-date information on changing and emerging regulations while a dedicated instructional design team provides engaging content that prepares staff with the latest information and best practices.   Contact HealthStream today to learn more about building confidence amongst your team.