Nursing homes strive to be institutions of comfort, care, and nurture for their patients. However, research shows that a staggering number of elders suffer abuse, neglect, and injury in assisted living facilities every year. In response to these violations, regulations for care-giving institutions like nursing homes are growing tighter in an effort to increase the safety and security of elders placed in long-term care.
New Ethics Requirements for Nursing Facilities
Nursing homes must follow a new set of requirements in order to maintain compliance with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Section 6102 of the Affordable Care Act states that all nursing facilities must have an ethics and compliance program in effect. CMS and state survey agencies will begin checking nursing homes and flagging insufficient programs with violations in November 2019.
The American Health Care Association’s summary of the new CMS compliance requirements can be found on their website. Some of the requirements include:
- Establishing written care standards that promote good practice and reduce the possibility of criminal, administrative, and civil violations
- Communicating these standards to staff, volunteers, and other employees of the facility
- Enforcing the standards with the proper disciplinary measures
- Taking steps to respond to all violations and to prevent similar violations from happening in the future
These requirements aim to help nursing facilities avoid incidents and to properly deal with them if they do happen -- leading to a higher standard of care in the long run.
Compliance Management Software Can Help
There’s a lot to keep track of when it comes to maintaining CMS compliance. Nursing facility staff must be sure to record incidents and violations, follow up with disciplinary measures, and review their incident records to ensure problems don’t repeat themselves.
Without an effective means of logging, tracking, and analyzing this information, it can be easy to forget important steps and drop the ball. Spreadsheets can quickly grow overwhelming and confusing, and this confusion can lead to mistakes with drastic consequences.
Compliance management software can help. With the right solution in place, employees can easily input incident information and refer back to previous cases all in one place. A software solution can keep track of every detail surrounding a violation, keep tabs on cases as they move from creation to closure, and run reports on past incidents to see trends.
Three Ways Compliance Software Can Help Your Facility
Flagging Violations. To stay compliant, your team should identify violations as soon as they happen -- leaving less opportunity for an incident to slip by unnoticed. Compliance management software provide easy-to-use interfaces that allow any employee to log an incident. Configure the incident submission screen to show exactly what fields you need it to (such as time of day, patient name, and more). Flexible software will allow users to input this information on both mobile and desktop devices -- and even through email.
Quick Responses. Maintaining compliance means responding to all violations in a timely manner. With a software solution in place, incidents logged into the system can automatically be assigned to the appropriate staff or management member. An alert is sent directly to that staff member’s inbox, helping the problem get addressed as quickly as possible
Preventing Similar Violations. With an easily navigable log of all violations, incidents, and events, compliance management software provide nursing facilities with a simple way to notice and respond to trends and to anticipate future risk areas. The most versatile software solutions will offer an intuitive dashboard that allows you to organize and visualize data and display all cases from a defined time period.
Does your nursing facility have a good system in place to track ethics violations, store case information, and analyze data across the organization? A software solution like Issuetrak can go a long way in helping your workplace manage risks, reduce headaches, and most of all, keep elders safe. As the November 2019 CMS deadline grows closer, it’s time to take a closer look at what your facility is doing to stay compliant.