Community based care providers can tell you stories shared among one another about occasions when they prepared for an initial or renewal licensing inspection by a regulator. It is not unusual to hear, “oh my he’s tough”, “oh my she’s unfair”, “oh my he’s difficult”. Pretty soon well-meaning, highly competent providers of community based care from assisted living settings, i.e. adult foster care or adult family care homes to adult day care centers are improperly focused. Suddenly they become more attentive to the personality of the regulator than the compliance of their program elements and this is where the problem comes in.
Of course it can be a bit titilating to engage in that kind of gossip and for some maybe it allows them to think the worse and enjoy the emotional uptake when things turn out better than they had convinced themselves they would. However, an excessive focus on the personality of anyone charged with inspecting our work can take away from where our focus should be: the quality of what we do.
When regulatory compliance is our goal and is an integral part of our commitment to quality, we simply need to follow our systems for doing things correctly. This means in a regulatory compliant manner. If shortcuts are our commitment or just “getting by” then we have a justifiable basis for worry.
Where it gets really counterproductive is when we become so tied up in the perceived or reported personality traits of someone charged with a routine inspection, we could miss the mark of learning and growing. Ideally we want to view regulators as educators, people who know what is required of us and who should be committed to helping us comply. Ask them for suggestions, show them your humble willingness to learn and to benefit from mistakes others have made that the inspector may be aware of and can share.
Its best to look for ways to make all relationships work in your favor. But if you get tied up in the “personality game” as opposed to the game of focusing on conducting responsible business all can be lost rather quickly.
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