How do you reduce:

  • Legal exposure
  • Media exposure
  • Community scrutiny
  • Legal costs
  • Insurance costs
  • Compliance costs
  • Regulatory penalties

Steps Toward Regulatory Accountability

Assessment is needed in order to identify your regulatory requirements. Statutes vary greatly by state and service. You may be subject to multiple requirements. Tip: Be sure to assess your impediments as well as your requirements. Many agencies focus on requirements they must achieve, but have a blind spot for current practices which directly undermine their ability to achieve prescribed standards. To avoid this problem, assess all current practices in light of today’s performance standards.

Goal Setting is a compulsory practice which is needed whenever certain standards must be achieved. Many set goals in absolute terms – the goal is achieved or it is not. This can be a set-up since failure is statistically as likely as success in such an all-or-nothing proposition.

Instead, a more careful look at standards may be more productive. Consider regulatory compliance in two ways:

  • Results-based: focus on achievements regardless of the efforts they require.
  • Activity-based: focus on activity undertaken to achieve a particular result regardless of the success of that activity

Some requirements dictate results that you must achieve no matter what it takes to obtain those results. These might include competency, documentation or reporting requirements. Results-based standards are very concrete and are measured statistically.

Activity-based requirements may not be so concrete. While the activity can be clearly specified, the specifics of how those activities are carried out is often unspecified. This might include standards of care or conduct.

For example, a typical intervention policy might require:

  • Personnel are encouraged to use an array of positive behavior interventions, strategies, and supports to increase or decrease targeted student behaviors. [Activity]
  • Personnel shall only use exclusion, restraint, or seclusion after less restrictive or alternative approaches have been considered, and attempted or determined to be inappropriate. [Activity]
  • This shall be done in a humane, safe, and effective manner, without intent to harm or create undue discomfort and consistent with known medical or psychological limitations and the student’s behavioral intervention plan. [Result]
  • Each time a student is in a restraint, school personnel shall document the incident. [Result]
  • Each time restraint is used, parents shall be provided oral or written notification within 24 hours, unless otherwise provided for in a student’s behavior intervention plan or IEP. [Result]
  • As you can see, one policy contains both Results-based and Activity-based standards. Achieving these standards will require different procedures and systems. Thusly, training demands will vary accordingly.

Documentation is tremendously important. Not only is it required for compliance with many standards, but you need documentation to help you determine whether or not your are achieving your requirements. Results-based achievement is measured quantitatively which also dictates the need for data collection and analysis.

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