Value of Consulting, Why Hire a Consultant

As you prepare for your CARF survey, you may want to consider hiring a CARF consultant.  The best outcome from a CARF survey is a three-year accreditation outcome.  This means it will be three years before you have to go through another CARF survey.  However, if significant areas do not meet CARF standards resulting in recommendations, than your organization may only have a one-year accreditation outcome.  If serious there are many areas that do not meet the CARF standards, or serious problems in critical areas, such as safety,  it may result in a non-accreditation.  Below are the reasons why you may consider hiring a consult as you prepare for your CARF survey, even if you are already CARF accredited. 

Cost Effectiveness:

It is expensive to go through CARF accreditation both from the fees paid to CARF and the preparation time.  Because of this expense, you  may want to do everything you can to ensure you get the best possible outcome, a three-year accreditation.  Even if you are currently accredited and received a three-year accreditation outcome from your last survey, you may want to ensure that you are still meeting all the standards.   Note, almost every year there are some changes to the standards, some years those changes are significant.  Having a consultant to review your operations is cost effective and invaluable in preparing for your survey. 

Understanding the CARF Standards:

It greatly helps to understand why a particular standard has come to be.  Virtually all CARF standards have been created to protect your organization and ensure you are providing the best possible services.  The standards are based on international best practices.  The consultant will help you understand why a particular standard needs to be met.  Not all CARF standards are equal.  The consultant will assist you in identifying the most important standards and give you some ideas on how you can ensure you are meeting them.  All the consultants are knowledgeable of the standards and the history behind them, as well as being helpful in developing methods for meeting the standards.

Methods for Meeting the CARF Standards:

There are a lot of CARF standards.  Yet, by taking a systematic methodical approach you can greatly simplify the task of meeting the standards.  By putting into place certain operational systems, it will help your organization meet a number of the CARF standards.  This creates efficiency in both preparations of your survey, as well as on-going operations.  With the assistance of a consultant, you likely will find that getting ready for a CARF survey need not be as complicated as you may think. 

Sample Policies, Plans and Forms:

When you hire a consultant, you will have access to a variety of resources.  This includes examples of all the written requirements needed to become CARF accredited.  Your consultant will help tailor make these resources for your organization so that they are useful and beneficial.  Sometimes seeing how a standard is being met provides a great deal of understanding of the requirement.  It will make it much easier to meet the standards. 

Comprehensive Accreditation Preparation: 

Our consultants are all Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) services with more than ten years of experience surveying for CARF. Because of the experience of each of the consultants we assist you in preparing for your CARF accreditation no matter if it is a first one or if it is in preparation for a re-accreditation. The services that we can offer includes helping you to develop policies, procedures, and plans. We can also consult with you by doing a mock (pre-CARF) survey which can help you determine your readiness for your CARF survey. We also offer consulting that helps you to determine if you have met all the new standards that have occurred during the period between your surveys. The work we do helps to ingrain the standards into the day-to-day operations of your organization. Remember CARF does not do an audit, they do a survey and a consultant from the Accreditation Consulting Group can help you be ready for the CARF survey without the stress of last-minute preparation.

Mock (Pre-CARF) Surveys:

Even after you have worked to develop your policies, procedures, plans, and other documents there is value in going through a mock CARF survey a few months prior to the actual CARF survey. Consultants at your organization or doing it virtually it helps prepare your staff and feel more comfortable once the surveyors are there to do the actual CARF survey. In addition, it gives the organization a better understanding of how ready they are for their CARF survey or if they have missed something that could lead to a recommendation. By catching it during the mock survey the consultant assists you in making sure the standard is met prior to the actual CARF survey.

Application Preparation: 

CARF is made up of many divisions and it is sometimes hard to determine which manual should be used or which division the organization should be applying for accreditation in. The Accreditation Consulting Group (ACG) Consultant can assist you in determining where your services best fit and therefore which division you should apply for CARF accreditation in. Knowing which services should be accredited can affect the number of surveyors and survey days that CARF assign and therefore it can affect the cost of your CARF survey.

Accreditation Renewal Preparation: 

The accreditation standards change each year, sometimes there are only a few changes and other years whole sections change. Consultants can assist your organization in helping you identify the changes and how they fit into your organization. By having those changes identified ahead of time you can make sure that you know what the changes are, and they can be put into place prior to your CARF survey.

Appeals of Accreditation Outcomes: 

There are times when an organization does not achieve the desired outcomes from the CARF accreditation survey, and they feel that there were errors in the interpretation of some of the standards. In that case ACG’s consultants can assist your organization in the appeal process and in preparation for being re-surveyed. In many cases, such an appeal can be avoided if the documents have been reviewed by one of our consultants during the mock CARF survey. Additionally, such appeals can be successful if the organization understands the process and makes changes to previously cites standards.

Training of Accreditation Survey Process: 

Often there is staff turnover between CARF surveys and new staff members, or new leadership may benefit from understanding the CARF process and the benefits of becoming accredited. Presenting a training to staff that provides an overview of the CARF process can assist staff in being prepared for the type of questions that they might be asked by the CARF surveyors, and it can help with overall accreditation preparedness. It is helpful to understand both the expectation on the part of the organization, and the expectations of the surveyors. The consultant can help staff to understand these expectations and how they can mesh.

Consultation During a CARF Survey: 

There are times when the stress of the survey can lead the organization to forget where a specific policy is or to be unsure of what is being asked of them. This can lead to misunderstandings during the CARF accreditation survey. There are many ways to meet the CARF standards and your organization has selected the way that they fit into your organization the best. In some cases, the standards are open to interpretation and the consultant can assist you in using the wording that will assist the CARF surveyor in understanding how you met the standard. The consultant will be available the day of the survey to assist you with any such issues should they arise.