Archive April 2016 XVII, No. 4

10 Insider Tips to Ace Your Next Accreditation Survey

There's more to prepping for your survey than just memorizing standards.

Kendal Gapinski

Kendal Gapinski, Contributing Editor

BIO

accreditation SURVEY SUCCESS Study the accreditation standards ahead of time and ensure you have a policy in place for each one.

Who better to ask how to ace an accreditation survey than the surveyors themselves? That's right, we went right to the source, interviewing 4 surveyors to find out their top tips for making the survey process run more smoothly for them and for you. As you'll see, there's much more to a successful survey than having all of your documentation in order.

1. Know why you're being surveyed
Seems elementary, but know what type of survey you're having. Is it Medicare deemed status, re-accreditation or a first-time survey? Each has its own process and set of standards, so prep accordingly. For example, an early-option survey is for newly constructed surgical centers that may require accreditation for third-party reimbursement, and a 6-month wait for a survey would entail financial hardship. Surgery centers that are already Medicare certified, as well as those seeking initial Medicare certification, may apply for a Medicare deemed status survey.

2. Time your surveyor's arrival
Unannounced surveys typically occur within a set period of time. You can get a good idea of when your survey is coming by tracking this window — for example, you're 3 months into the 6-month timeframe — but make sure that you're ready for the visit starting on day one, says Sandy Berreth, RN, BS, MS, CASC, a surveyor with the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).

'I remember last year I went on a survey and they were 1 month into their 6-month window. The administrator looked at me and said 'Oh, we didn't expect you,' and I said, 'What do you mean you didn't expect me?'' says Ms. Berreth. 'People go onto these community websites and see other administrators saying that we won't come within that first month. But don't believe it. Be ready.'

The Joint Commission has an extranet site called Joint Commission Connect that can provide clues that your survey is on the horizon.

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