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PHI Graduates Coaching Trainers in Two State Survey Agencies

October 9, 2013

Nursing home surveyors in Missouri and Indiana have embraced the PHI Coaching ApproachSM. In May 2013 PHI began work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and CMS subcontractor Health Care Management Solutions (HMS) on a unique project to build upon leadership skills in two state survey agencies (SSAs). The project began with outreach efforts to recruit the participating state agencies. Missouri and Indiana were enthusiastic about the opportunity and the project unfolded quickly from that point.

PHI Organizational Change Consultants visited with senior leadership teams in both states to learn about core strengths in each agency, as well as to identify challenges the SSAs wished to address. Both states expressed a need to provide training that would deepen the ability of surveyors to communicate more effectively with their colleagues and with the provider community. Surveyors face a great deal of resistance on a daily basis, and are often in the position to have potentially difficult conversations. Both states offer excellent training to their employees on the survey process itself, and both states felt this relational piece of the role was something that had yet to be adequately addressed.

[Graduates from the Indiana State Department of Health]Matt Younger, Administrator of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) said, “Our agency itself consists of nearly 300 employees spread across the state in eight different office buildings, and intra-agency communication is always somewhat challenging. We’re also transitioning to telecommuting in some parts of the state, so as our physical proximity to one another has lessened, our need to communicate more clearly has become even more important. This training, by addressing the quality of our interactions, is helping us to address an important organizational vulnerability.”

In order to build internal capacity, both states requested a train-the-trainer process that would develop a core team of educators in the PHI Coaching Approach within their staffs. PHI customized a two-day curriculum that includes appreciative inquiry, coaching communication skills, and managing resistance. The customization included the incorporation of scenarios surveyors face in their work, and the design provides multiple opportunities to practice coaching skills with realistic scenarios in the classroom. In September 2013, PHI graduated 12 Coaching Trainers in Missouri and 10 in Indiana.

In addition to their plans to offer this training to the full team of employees in each SSA, they also identified additional benefits of participating in this training. Because PHI designed the train-the-trainer and the coaching curriculum with experiential adult-learner-centered training methods, both agencies plan to infuse these teaching methods into other training programs, which are currently primarily didactic in nature. PHI looks forward to opportunities to replicate this training in other SSAs.

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