Common Misconceptions about the Accreditation Interview
I think the misconceptions related to the interview process on the providers’ part is that they might think that somebody’s out to get them or that it is a test or that they really have to hide things, and that’s not the case at all. The interview is there really to help the provider, so when they believe that somebody’s trying to do something against them, that’s not what this is about. It’s about gathering facts, and really explaining their program, helping us get a clear picture of them.
From the surveyors' standpoint, surveyors might think need to know everything or they might think that they have to answer a question or they might think that they need to be someone who consults — and that’s not the role at all. The role for the surveyor is to gather, to be professional and to be prepared — those are the clear things for the surveyor. So, misconceptions from the surveyor standpoint are both thinking that they have to be totally in the right or totally know everything about it versus the provider who thinks that somebody’s out to get them.
Do surveyors determine your accreditation decisions?
Providers sometimes will ask if the decision is being made at the interview and that’s not correct. The decision is not made there; accreditation decision does not come out of that survey interview. What happens in the survey interview is the surveyors are trying to gather as much information, as many facts as they can, to help answer a major question and that is —compliance. Is this Criterion compliant? Has the provider shown us through activity files and the self-study that they comply with what’s required or asked? So, you’ll see things that come up and you’ll try to tie together things that are written in the self-study, things that are documented in the activity files and you’ll see in the interview process that providers are able to tie them together or talk through it or might notice at that point that they have something missing. And that’s basically what the surveyor does.
The surveyor tries to get that congruence, tries to get everything lined up between the survey interview, between what’s written and between the activity files. If there’s something missing that’s what the surveyor will ask about. From the interview the surveyors will gather this data and they’ll fill out a report. It’s called the surveyor report form. And on that report form they will indicate where they found the material or what they didn’t see. If they didn’t see something they will note that as well. So, in gaps, for example in Criterion 2, they will say: The activity files show that the provider had gaps. The self-study described the gaps and during the interview we found the provider could describe this process and tell us. This information is given to the ARC1 after it’s done on this surveyor report form.
So, the ARC now has the process of looking at what came out of the activity files, what came out of the survey interview, and what’s been written in the self-study, to combine and compare all three, and that’s how the ARC makes a decision about compliance. A good surveyor will get the data so that it makes it easy for the ARC to find the information and say: It’s there or it isn’t there.
1 ARC= Accreditation Review Committee, reviews surveyor data, makes compliance recommendations to Board