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Success Story

How Acts Retirement-Life Communities Manages Compliance and Training Across 9 States With Relias

Keeping staff trained and compliant with regulations is challenging for healthcare organizations. Providing classes and seminars and then tracking that training and education, plus the certifications and licenses of each employee, can be overwhelming. This is especially the case for organizations spanning multiple states. Fortunately for Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Relias provided everything they needed to tackle these challenges in one platform.

Emily Stiles, the Program Administrator for Acts Corporate University (ACU), which provides staff training and education programs, said she joined the organization before Relias was engaged. Then, all onboarding and training materials were printed on paper, and Stiles was handed three heavy four-inch binders on her first day. “I had to sit in a conference room and read all of it before seeing any residents!”

Jo Anne Hartman, Managing Director of ACU, joined Acts around the time it partnered with Relias in 2014 and took part in a task force created to launch Relias as part of the onboarding process. “We had to train employees and get buy-in,” said Hartman. “People tend to fight change. Some supervisors didn’t want to give up their training binders, but once they learned to use the reporting features in the Relias dashboard, that was the buy-in we needed.” Relias simplified processes and saved everyone time.

Hartman added that a key to the ongoing success and acceptance of the Relias Platform is that Stiles offers one-on-one sessions to managers. “Her session helps them keep up with anything new and allows them to ask questions about features they’re not familiar with.”

“We know from day one that when a new CNA walks in, they will get the right training. Relias follows them throughout their career, keeping everyone on track with requirements.”
— Emily Stiles, Program Administrator for Acts Corporate University

Acts built an internal university around Relias

Acts is one of the largest not-for-profit operators of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) in the United States. It comprises 26 communities with nearly 10,000 residents in nine states, providing three levels of care: residential living, assisted living, and skilled care.

Leaning on the concept of loving-kindness, Acts empowers employees to grow in their careers. But managing training and requirements across three levels of care in nine states created complex organizational needs that were challenging to manage effectively with traditional binders and spreadsheets.

Turning to Relias, Acts found great value in the expansive library of ready-to-access training, the flexibility to add their own courses, policies, and procedures, and the ability to track and report from one dashboard shared across the entire organization. Training history, CEUs, certifications, and licenses – Relias provided everything in one place. Stiles said administrators and users have found the platform flexible, powerful, and easy to use.

Now, at Acts’ annual conference, an award is given to the community with the top Relias completion rate.

Relias ensures compliance and consistency across the organization

The Relias Platform offers Acts workers personalized learning plans based on specific needs, knowledge gaps, and the employee’s location. Using Relias Training Crosswalks designed to assist clinical educators in selecting courses that ensure they meet regulatory requirements, Acts can easily manage compliance across nine states.

“We know from day one that when a new CNA walks in, they will get the right training,” said Stiles. “Relias follows them throughout their career, keeping everyone on track with requirements.” Administrators and managers who would otherwise have to do the tracking in binders can now focus their time and attention elsewhere.

Hartman added that Acts, like other healthcare organizations, is guided by the rules of CMS, which updates regulations constantly. With self-paced Relias courses, employees can do required training during work hours, when they have a break or spare time.

And when a surveyor shows up to assess one of the Acts communities, staff know how to run the reports needed to provide detailed information on staff training and course descriptions — saving everyone time and frustration.

Acts embedded its brand and culture into the Relias platform

Stiles said she loves that the Relias platform allows them to inject their own branding and culture. They’ve created an Acts mascot named Captain Compliance, who appears in custom training videos. “He was born out of a need to make compliance material a little less dry,” said Stiles.

Acts uses its mascot for microlearning cartoons that cover specific topics in less than five minutes, allowing staff to fit in education on the fly — in a fun way. According to Hartman, people continue trying to guess who the voice of Captain Compliance is, confident that it’s a senior staff member. This creativity recently won Acts a best practice award at an Occupational Safety and Health Administration conference.

Looking to the future, Acts plans to start spotlighting specific CEUs and other Relias courses that are particularly interesting and timely, along with courses that align with several CEU requirements across the organization.

“We’re also planning to have more live events again, now that we’re in an endemic stage of COVID-19,” said Stiles. Leaders are excited to use trainers within each community again. To be sure, no matter what training Hartman and Stiles are planning, and they can manage and track it through the Relias Platform going forward.

Measurable Outcomes

+ Track compliance and training across nine states, 26 communities, and three service levels in one platform.

+ Ensure training is consistent and standardized across all communities.

+ View each employee’s licenses, certifications, training, and CEUs in one place when assessing assignments and promotions.

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