Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Q&A on the QA: Advice from the Inside

Quality Awards Frequently Asked Questions, Post #1
There’s no doubt that completing the application for an AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award is a big task. After all, the program is one of the leading of its kind! However, you’re bound to run into a tangle or two as you work your way to achieving national recognition—but the Quality Awards team is here to help!

As applications come rolling in (Bronze applications due Jan. 31; Silver and Gold on Feb. 28 – apply online here!), our team is compiling a list of the questions that most frequently land in the mailbox. Have a question, but don’t see the answer below? Submit it to us! We’ll answer directly, but you can also use this ongoing blog series as a quick reference guide.

Want more tips and tools? Head to the Quality Award Applicant Resources page on our website, and be sure to follow announcements and updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Q. What kind of educational opportunities will meet the educational requirement? Also, how do I show proof of participation?

Participation in a Quality Award educational program is required in order for an application to be considered by Examiners. There are a number of ways you can meet the educational requirement, including programs from state affiliates and multi-facility organizations. Applicants are strongly encouraged to participate in the AHCA/NCAL sponsored webinars as they provide the most accurate information.

Q. I am completing my responses to the Organizational Profile section of the Silver criteria. In response to category P.1.a(4), what do you mean by the “desired number” of positions in each department? 

The intent of the "desired number" component of criteria P.1.a.4 is to identify the your "fully staffed" level. Your current number of employees may be the same as the desired number, meaning that you are fully staffed in that department. Conversely, current number may be below desired number, indicating that you are under staffed. Any insight this ratio gives is strictly for your own benefit, and is not used as a point of evaluation, as the criteria does not ask for current number, only desired number.

Q. I have a question about criteria coding for the Silver application. For example, in Category 1, do we answer 1.1, 1.1a and 1.1b? Or do we answer 1.1a and 1.1b?

You only need to address 1.1a and 1.1b directly, but your responses to these two should answer the Basic questions posed in 1.1. So, as you response to questions about how your senior leaders guide and sustain your organization and how they communicate with your workforce and encourage high performance, it should become clear how your senior leaders lead.

You do not need to supply any proof or documentation of your completion of an educational session. The on-line application form includes a question asking whether you have participated in an educational program. This requirement is in place to help applicants become successful at receiving a Quality Award, so it is in your best interest to complete this requirement.

Q. I am applying for the Silver award on behalf of an assisted living center. In responding to criteria 7.1a, I am trying to come up with some clinical data like re-admissions to the hospital in 30 days or diabetes management. However, as an Assisted Living, I also have the option of reporting "non-clinical" data in response to 7.1a. I would like some clarification on how to differentiate the "non-clinical" outcomes requested in 7.1a and the outcomes requested in 7.2.

Good question. For an AL facility, the data reported for 7.1can be a process improvement with logical connections to a clinical outcome. For example an increase in satisfaction rates regarding meals may have the impact of reducing unplanned weight loss. While the AL facility may not monitor weight loss, a correlation between satisfaction with food as a deterrent to weight loss in logical and reasonable, and satisfaction rates can be reported under 7.1a. 

Efforts to improve safety, response time to emergencies, programs designed to maintain/improve strength, balance, cognitive function all have health implications, even if data on health improvements themselves are not monitored. A AL facility may offer an exercise class designed to increase mobility. In the AL setting, data might not be collected showing increases in mobility as a clinical measure, but an AL facility may report an increase in attendance as an outcome measure in 7.1a.

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