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Documenting -- the basics


Nobody --nobody I know, at least-- likes paperwork. After the thrill of negotiating and then reaching an agreement, paperwork is a letdown.

But the sad truth of the matter is this: If it isn't documented, it isn't done. Tell me whatever you want, but I don't have to believe you. If it's something I don't like, I WON'T believe you -- without documentation. If you are making someone else do something they don't want to do, they won't do it -- unless you document why it must be done.

Olmstead implementation involves money and jobs. Major shifts in funding will occur; money will be taken FROM some places -- like nursing homes -- and put into other services. There will be new jobs in the in-home service industry. And for state bureaucrats who are being forced to oversee the shift, CHANGE is hard.

This time we are talking big money, established money. The money from Medicaid has been easy money for nursing home investors. When it comes to money, people will battle very hard to keep it. So we must document our meetings, promises made, decisions reached. Nobody else will do it for us. We must NOT rely on state bureaucrats to document the Olmstead implementation process. We must do it.

We must document everything. Period.

  • For every meeting, we must document:
  • who attended:
  • what was discussed
  • what was decided.

We must specifically record:

  • Times
  • dates
  • places
  • agendas and
  • numbers

What do you do with this documentation of the meeting? A copy, in the form of a letter, should be mailed to everyone present -- to make it official. You also need to send copies to the Big Parties -- like the state -- so they'll have your record on record.

At the end of the letter, you should add, "If you feel there are errors in this letter, contact us by [name a date about 2 weeks in the future] so we can correct our record."

This way you ensure a record that is accurate and you put all parties on notice that this will be the "official record" -- if they have problems, it's their job to tell you. If you do receive a substantive correction, then you need to send THAT information out to all the same people who got your original document.

By documenting, you're "creating a paper trail."

Because there will come a day when someone says "I didn't know about that." "My office wasn't aware." "We would never agree to something like that." "This wasn't an open process."

And that someone will be a someone who controls the money.


Document it NOW!

"We can always go back and do it later, if we need to build a trail." Have you heard people say that? I have. But if you can do it later, you can do it NOW.

The timeline and record of meetings that we document are our best weapons. They offer undisputable proof of who attended the meetings, when they attended; proof of what they were told. Proof they had a chance to holler. Proof that we know how to act like grownups and play in the big league.

And this IS the big league. Olmstead is about money and jobs, and people's lives.

DOCUMENT! please!


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