Create your agency policies EARLY!
Save time, money and even lawsuits!
Policies and procedures are often an afterthought for when planning to start a home health agency.
They’re not as important as finding the right employees or figuring out how to make a profit–right?
Policies and procedures matter more than you might think because they define your company culture and set expectations from day one.
Being proactive and preventative is the wisest course of action to avoid costly fines, lawsuits, loss of reputation or your employees at risk. Your home health agency will be more successful in avoiding these consequences if you take steps now before anything happens suddenly or unexpectedly.
If you are looking for a way to improve safety measures as well as reduce risks within an organization then this article might provide some helpful tips on how to better protect yourself from unexpected pitfalls that could cost your company time and money down the road.
WHY IT MATTERS
You should establish policies and procedures in any organization, but this is especially important for a home health agency just starting up.
Policies will help set expectations from day one, while also setting boundaries to avoid costly fines or lawsuits down the road.
It’s better to be proactive and preventative than to wait until something goes wrong before you realize how much it could cost your company time and money due to accidents.
How to manage the policies and procedures for your agency?
A policy is a declaration of opinion or intention that forms an underlying principle on which decisions are made.
Procedures are guidelines that tell people how they should act in certain circumstances, usually involving particular activities.
The benefits of managing both types of documents can be seen by following these five steps: (1) Create clear-cut documentation; (2) Identify what you want to document; 3). Decide if it’s a Policy or Procedure Document type before proceeding with drafting this new set of instructions! 4). Implement necessary changes as needed based on feedback from stakeholders 5.) Communicate appropriately while documenting amendments when appropriate
What is the difference between policies and procedures?
What is a policy?
Policies are broader in scope and more general.
They may pertain to the agency as a whole or just one division of it, but they are not focused on specific tasks that people have to complete; policies help guide decision making by stating what is required for compliance with laws, regulations, rules etc.
Policy templates for a small business will help you get started; these can be customized with you brand and contact information with a professional look!
Policies can have a negative or positive impact on the work culture. Some policies may be so lax that they don’t actually do anything to help with an organization, while other times it is something as simple as enforcing deadlines and not going over budget which keeps things running smoothly for everyone involved in the company.
Policies are especially important when establishing expectations for employees because without clear guidelines there will always be confusion about what needs to happen during their day-to-day duties.
Effective policies also lay the foundation for a healthy work culture by communicating expectations through policy setting and guiding day-to-day operations of your business seamlessly from start to finish; no one wants any surprises after all!
What is a procedure?
Procedures are narrower in focus and describe how an activity should be done (e.g. “to make coffee”, you must first measure out 12 cups of water).
Procedures tend to use language like ‘must’, ‘will’ and ‘shall’.
Policies are the natural next step in establishing a home health agency. Policies set some parameters for decision-making, but allow room for flexibility and show why an action is taken.
Let’s look at an example: a home health aide asking for vacation. The policy would determine how much time off the employee is eligible to take and what factors could limit their days-off, but it will not give the person instructions on how they can go about getting approval or priority days away from work. This information is instead detailed in the procedure which details steps needed to get vacation approved and who should make that determination.
But Why Polices and Procedures Before the Agency Exists?
At this point you may be wondering why policies and procedures matter so much at an early stage when a formal HR department or supervisor does not exist.
Even without these resources, having policies will establish some ground rules that can then be built upon later as your homecare agency grows.
TO THE POINT
It also sets up clear guidelines from the beginning which means no surprises should arise down the line – whether it’s dealing with the workforce or clients.
It is crucial that home health agencies and healthcare providers have the proper policies in place to protect their employees, those they serve, and themselves.
Policies have always been important for these organizations – but it’s more necessary now than ever with caregiver accountability becoming a hot topic of discussion across the nation.
For example, nurses need access to updated policies on how best care for senior citizens at home (for instance: what side effects could be present from incontinence or falls).
Policies are important for homes and healthcare providers. But it has become even more of an issue in the last few years, with caregiver accountability becoming a hot topic.
Healthcare organizations face more liability risks than most, but by implementing policies and procedures healthcare companies can mitigate risk, improve compliance with regulations, protect private patient information from security breaches or leaks of personal data to third party groups. Better customer care will also be provided as a result.
Important Agency Alerts
Policies can help reduce liability, improve compliance with regulations, protect private patient information from security breaches or leaks of personal data to third party groups. Better customer care will also be provided as a result.
Further, policies and procedures provide an understanding of how the agency wishes to conduct themselves in regards to privacy laws (HIPAA), safety precautions for patients when transporting them within their facility, prevention policies that promote safe work practices among employees not only inside but outside too, etc.
These policies should become part of the culture at your home health agency by being incorporated into new hire orientation programs so everyone is on board with what they need to do before starting any job duties .
You should try to have solid policies and procedures in place even before you open the doors and accept your first client.
Policies and procedure templates for small business, such as a new healthcare agency, will not cost much and will save you tons of time!
What are the benefits of having policies and procedures for a home health agency?
The first benefit is that policies and procedures provide a framework for how to do things the right way.
For example, how to accept a new client, transfering or discharging a client, patient tracking, etc.
Another benefit is that policies offer protection from lawsuits like negligence, failure to comply with policies in place at your facility, etc. Imagine not being in compliance and state regulators show up for a surprise inspection?
A third benefit of policies and procedures is they make it easier for you to manage tasks because you can simply reference them when needed – instead of having employees try to keep track on their own (which will just lead to mistakes – costing the agency time and money).
This last point is especially important if an employee leaves suddenly or unexpectedly . You should have policies in place so there are no gaps left and clients aren’t disrupted by people leaving as well as staff not knowing what needs done next.
In conclusion, policies and procedures will help your agency thrive in the early stages of development by providing a clear roadmap for employees to follow, avoiding unnecessary mistakes that can cost time and money.
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