AAAHC: 7 questions to ask when hiring a healthcare consultant

Organizations selecting healthcare consultants to prepare for an accreditation survey or maintain compliance should ask these seven questions, according to the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Healthcare.

1. What type of experience best matches with your practice model? A candidate should have experience within your practice setting, whether it's single or multispecialty.

2. Are you looking for clinical or operational expertise? It's important to know if a candidate has clinical or operational background within a healthcare facility.

3. Are you pursuing Medicare certification? An ASC seeking Medicare certification should find out candidates' familiarity with code sets. Hiring a consultant who doesn't know current National Fire Protection Association codes in use by CMS or your accrediting body might force you to eventually hire a second consultant who can handle physical environment requirements.

4. How much consulting experience does the candidate have? Ask candidates to provide their professional and academic credentials.

5. Do they have references for providing consulting services relevant to your needs? Colleagues in other healthcare facilities can provide valuable feedback on a candidate's work style, accessibility and knowledge. This information can help you determine if the candidate is a good match for your organization.

6. What should you expect from the process? Identify your own goals and how you want the consultant to help accomplish them. Be clear about your expectations, which might include phone consultations, mock surveys, staff education or training opportunities. Collaborate with your facility's team to identify areas of concern that the consultant should address.

7. What will it cost? Know whether you'll pay a flat fee or be billed for individual service items, and whether the hours you're buying are pre-defined or based on project completion.

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