Did you know that Inland Regional Center (IRC) contracts with community-based Service Providers to help IRC Consumers live the most independent and empowered lives possible? IRC Service Providers or “Vendors” provide services and supports to IRC clients, As established by the Lanterman Act.
IRC’s Quality Assurance (QA) department works alongside Service Providers to ensure they are following state and federal regulations, as well as IRC policies and guidelines. The QA team provides training opportunities and technical assistance for our Service Providers. I sat down with Christina Gonzalez and Jessica Lemons from our QA department to learn more about how the department operates, the training they provide, and a move towards a paperless training system!
Amelia Maldonado (AM): Thanks Christina and Jessica for sitting down to talk to me. Tell us about your department!
Christina Gonzalez (CG): The Quality Assurance or “Q.A.” unit oversees Consumer vendored services. We oversee residential facilities, day programs, work programs, respite, and a variety of children’s services. We work in conjunction with Service Coordinators and Vendors to meet regulatory standards, as well as improving the quality of services our Consumers receive.
Jessica Lemons (JL): Yes, our department is made up of team members who each evaluate and assist residential facilities, day programs, supported living services, Special Incident Reporting, Consumer work programs and more. We help ensure that we are all making our best effort to serve our Consumers here at IRC.
AM: So, part of your team’s responsibilities involves providing training opportunities to our Vendors. What are those presentations like?
CG: Over the past several years the popularity of the Provider Enrichment Training has increased tremendously! We are now averaging anywhere between 250-300 attendees monthly. These trainings are open to all vendors, however, they are generally geared towards residential providers. Recently, they have been attracting the interest of not only residential providers but also some of our day program providers since the topics relate to the services they provide.
The goal is for our providers to have consistent access and training on IRC’s expectations. Training topics are typically on overall general regulations such as Personal and Incidental funds (P&I), Consumer rights, Special Incident Reporting, etc. But we provide other topics of interest such as grief and loss, trauma, labor laws, and more.
AM: Why are these trainings important for our Service Providers to attend?
CG: Provider Enrichment Training is important for two reasons. First, our residential providers must have a certain number of continuing education units (CEUs) each year, and this is a great way to do that! Second, by attending, our providers can receive the most current information on regulations and IRC standards.
AM: That’s awesome. I understand QA is upping their tech game and going digital. Let’s talk about that.
Like many other industries, QA is embracing technology to provide more efficient and streamlined processes. Over the past several years, our department has moved to a paper-free system. As many vendors have noticed, our Special Incident Report (SIR) form is now digital! This allows vendors to complete and submit it electronically, which has reduced errors in submission timelines.
QA has also converted annual audits to an electronic format. As liaisons conduct their annual audits on iPads, those audits are immediately emailed to the vendor and the vendor file. Vendors no longer have to wait for the liaison to return to the office, type up the audit, and mail it out. Vendors now receive them right away! This means they can begin addressing any issues or concerns that have been identified in real time.
Our newest project is related to vendor trainings. We have moved to an electronic pre-registration, as well as an electronic sign-in. And as of the beginning of this year, Continuing Education Units certificates are now also issued electronically.
JL: Our new digital processes are really making an impact by saving time and resources! Now, when vendors RSVP for training, they do so through an online RSVP portal. This guarantees them a seat in the training and provides them immediate confirmation of their reservation. Digital sign-in and certificate distribution have been much needed! Our trainings include anywhere from 150-300 attendees! Just a year ago, we were having people sign-in on paper sign-in sheets and handwriting certificates. Now, all providers sign-in on laptops and their certificates are automatically emailed to them after the training. By doing this, we are not only saving our vendors time but also saving resources for the agency as well!
CG: We also use email notifications to let our Service Providers know about upcoming trainings. We also encourage them to visit our website, inlandrc.org, to stay informed about not about QA events, but Vendor meetings, and other IRC events.
AM: For the Service Providers who may be reading this, how can they sign up for an IRC Provider Enrichment Training?
JL: Well, like Christina said, we send out email notifications, so the first step is signing up for our Vendor Training Distribution list. To do so, they can click on the following link and input their information: https://inlandrc.seamlessdocs.com/f/VendorEmail.
At the beginning of each month, we send out an invitation to everyone on the distribution list that will have a brief description of the upcoming training and link to the RSVP website. This site will show the date, time, location and presenter of the training. Service Providers will then enter their contact and vendor information to register. Immediately after that, they will receive a confirmation email. It’s as easy as that!
AM: Thank you, ladies, for your time and for sharing this valuable information with our readers!
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