Three years ago we made the commitment to overhaul the way we regulate Arizona’s 5,500 licensed healthcare facilities. Our goal was to move from the existing prescriptive regulations to a new set of outcome-based rules. The idea was to shift from the former 2-dimensional standards to a deeper set of 3-dimensional regulations.
The final regulations that we’re publishing at the end of April are tied to outcomes. The model puts more responsibility on the facility’s managers to ensure that they’ve developed policies and procedures to ensure they’re meeting the needs of the people they serve.
The new model basically sets some prescriptive minimum standards- and then requires facility operators to develop an additional set of policies and procedures to ensure patient and resident health & safety. Facilities are also required to measure patient and resident outcomes. If they have bad (preventable) outcomes- our survey teams will determine whether they weren’t following their policies and procedures, had inadequate policies and procedures, or both.
The new final regulations aren’t the finish line. Our next task is to educate and train our survey teams and regulated healthcare facilities on the new regulations. Because the final rules depend largely on outcomes and solid policies and procedures rather than just static standards- this effort won’t happen overnight. It’ll probably take about 18 months to get everybody up to speed on the new expectations.
Congratulations to our committed Stakeholders and Team ADHS for collaborating on the development of regulations that’ll be improving Health and Wellness for all Arizonans for years to come.