gavel-214x300We met a major milestone in 2014 when we filed our final new set of regulations for Arizona’s 5,500 licensed healthcare facilities.  We’ve now completed our overhaul of the State’s regulations of hospitals, behavioral health inpatient facilities, nursing care institutions, recovery care centers, hospices, behavioral health residential facilities, assisted living facilities, outpatient surgical centers, outpatient treatment centers, adult day health care facilities, home health agencies, behavioral health specialized transitional facilities, substance abuse transitional facilities, behavioral health respite homes, adult behavioral health therapeutic homes, child care facilities and the regulatory standards for licensed professional midwives.

We worked hard with our partners to develop a better set of rules during this 4-year regulatory reform effort. The new model sets some prescriptive minimum standards – and 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 and adjust their policies and procedures as needed to improve outcomes.

If facilities have bad (preventable) outcomes – our survey teams will determine whether the facility wasn’t following its policies and procedures, had inadequate policies and procedures, or both- and require them to make needed improvements.

While the regulatory reform piece is complete, we still need to educate and train our survey teams and 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 all of 2015 to get everybody up to speed on the new expectations.