Being an RCFE comes with lots of liability if something happens to the residents or staff, so it’s important for RCFE owners and operators to find ways to reduce their liability expenses. Here are some simple suggestions that can be implemented immediately:
1. Bolster Security Measures
According to the healthcare analyst firm Cambia Health Solutions, Inc, the number of violent victimizations against RCFE staff has increased by 72 percent since 2007. The most common forms of violence reported were physical assaults and threats by residents. As a result, it is imperative for facilities to take security measures seriously in order to prevent violence from occurring on site. Staff must closely monitor high risk behavior seen in any resident, while security cameras should be implemented in public spaces. It is also important to train staff how to handle aggressive behavior, and provide them with the necessary equipment to ensure their safety (e.g., panic button).
2. Implement Good Documentation Practices
The documentation process for RCFE facilities has become more complex due to heightened regulations. For instance, all forms used for resident care must be completed accurately and completely before signing off on them; if this procedure is not followed, it could result in a violation of state law or federal regulations. Additionally, under certain circumstances residents’ medical records need to be reviewed by outside healthcare professionals before they can be transferred or discharged from an RCFE facility; otherwise, these facilities might not be able to meet the state-mandated requirements for continuity of care. To avoid these and other potential risks, all resident paperwork should be carefully reviewed and completed before it is either signed off by a staff member or submitted to any third parties.
3. Adopt New Technologies
Some states have mandated that RCFE facilities employ the use of electronic records for each resident, or at least encourage its use among all healthcare professionals on site. Newer technologies such as iPads and mobile devices also allow healthcare providers to access important information about residents (e.g., medications administered; updates on family visits) in real time from anywhere within an RCFE facility, thus, improving communication and coordination among team members. These technologies can also be used to securely share information about residents (e.g., medical records; physician summaries) with other healthcare facilities, which helps prevent unnecessary medication errors and/or missed appointments.
4. Utilize RCFE Demonstration Projects
Over the past few years, federal agencies like CMS and ONC have made great strides in developing pre-acute demonstration projects that demonstrate how new technology can enhance care coordination among team members across multiple agencies; this includes home health providers, hospices, RCFEs, among others. Demonstration projects are typically funded by Medicare or Medicaid, so all costs for these initiatives are paid through these programs’ respective trust funds. For instance, one demonstration project, Care Transitions, aims to reduce preventable hospital readmissions for RCFE patients within 30 days of discharge while providing a more holistic form of care. This team-oriented approach allows healthcare providers to share medical information about a patient in real time using mobile technology, which helps the RCFE stay informed about a resident’s condition and coordinate services accordingly.
5. Maintain Good Vendor Reputation
A facility must carefully select its vendors (e.g., pharmacy companies; skilled nursing agencies) based on their track records for quality service delivery. The FACCCA board makes it easy for members to conduct an online search that shows the professional performance history of all registered pharmacy technicians working at pharmacies within different types of healthcare facilities (e.g., hospitals; long term care facilities). Facilities should also check to see if any complaints have been filed against a provider, and determine what actions the provider has taken in response to these complaints.
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