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State Survey for Medical Facilities

If you have ever worked in the healthcare field, you probably hear the words "state survey" and freeze in place. If you haven't worked in healthcare yet, you will quickly learn what "state survey," means.

In order to provide medical care to patients, healthcare facilities need to have accreditation. This means that they have to pass an inspection with both the state and a healthcare committee called JCAHO. JCAHO stands for "Joint Commisstion for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations." The are now known just as the Joint CommissionWorking in healthcare means knowing what a "state survey" is. It also means knowing what JCAHO does.

Let's start with accreditation. Not all healthcare facilities are "JCAHO" accredited, but it helps to be. In order to be a licensed healthcare facility, you only need to pass a "state survey." This means you need to meet standards that the state requires. JCAHO accreditation standards are much harder to meet, but can help you pass a state inspection. This is why when healthcare workers here the words "state inspection" they freeze in place because usually JCAHO comes in first. This means you usually have to go through everything with a fine toothed comb and make sure everything is in place. From charting to labeling, it all has to be a certain way. If you pass, you are considered the "cream of the crop," in the healthcare world.

Next, we have to be ready! This means providing quality care at all times and treating every patient as the inspector. At no time in healthcare should quality of care ever be less than standard. Realistically, there are some things that tend to fall behind and we need to fix them. Here are a few tips for surviving state survey:

  • Make sure your charting is complete - Use complete documentation and correct any charting deficiencies. This is a big thing when state survey happens. Medications, treatments and all care must be completely documented. If it isn't charted, it wasn't done. Even if you remember doing the care.

  • Clean out, clean up and label - Make sure everything associated with patient care is organized and labeled properly. Clean out under sinks and do not use them for storing things. Anything that belongs to a patient needs to be labeled, even if it is in their bedside table. Combs, brushes, tooth care items and even water pitchers need a patient label. Throw out anything that isn't being used.

  • Make sure everyone is on the same page -  Hold regular meetings with staff to address areas of deficiency. Teach everyone the standards and have them keep their eyes open. Encourage a team spirit. Getting ready for state can be a fun process. Offer incentives for performance and after state survey, have a pizza party or ice cream social for staff. When everyone participates and cares, you have a bigger chance at high ratings and less deficiencies.



State survey doesn't have to be scary at all. Quality care should be provided at all times. It is understandable that deficiencies do occur. The important part is clearing them up quickly. Remember, if you didn't chart it you didn't do the care. Everything needs to be labeled and up-to-date. All healthcare staff needs to participate as a team. With JCAHO accreditation, you will have the honor of working for a top rate healthcare facility. One that you can be proud of and one that you helped make happen!