QA manager brings a down-to-earth approach clients, clinicians and coders find refreshing

With more than 20 years of experience in home health, Apryl Swafford knows the most complicated ins and outs of the business, the complexities of frequently changing regulations that affect coding, OASIS, and other elements integral to agency profitability.

But Swafford, who enjoys raising pigs, cows and goats, gardening, canning, and spinning yarn on a wheel on her small family farm in rural Alabama, likes to keep things simple.

That’s why Swafford has earned a reputation in the industry as a down-to-earth teacher who offers practical, easy-to-understand solutions that coders and clinicians alike find easy to successfully apply day after day.

“We work in a challenging field, with constant change, where intense concentration is required every day,” Swafford said.

“That’s why I like to make things as easy to understand as possible when sharing new information and explaining changing requirements,” she said.

Monitoring overall quality

Swafford, a registered nurse, is SimiTree’s Quality Assessment Manager. Her job is monitoring the overall quality of coding, OASIS and plan of care reviews completed by both full-time and contractor auditors to make certain SimiTree delivers a premium outsourcing experience to clients.

She works closely with SimiTree’s internal education team to identify areas for improvement, and keeps auditors on track for best practices and meeting current regulations.

Swafford also works with clients, delivering solutions and training in coding, OASIS, updated information on regulatory matters, intake/referrals, outcomes and other helpful topics in webinars and classes. She often tailors her material to the specific needs of the agency, to increase its relevancy.

“Our goal is to help our clients succeed,” Swafford said. “We try to do that by keeping our auditors knowledgeable and up to speed, able to deliver top-notch services day in and day out. And we work with our clients to shore up their knowledge and understanding, addressing any issues they may have.”

Keeping it real

Coders, clinicians and clients praise Swafford’s easy-going delivery, practical solutions, and the humor she uses to help drive home important points. She is a popular presenter at conferences and other industry events.

In addition to her thorough understanding of regulatory matters, Swafford brings to her position years of experience in chart audits as well as management of a team of nurses, therapists, and home health aides.

Swafford began her nursing career in 1994 with a BSN from Jacksonville State University in Alabama. She has worked in a wide range of home health roles since 1997, including case manager, clinical manager, and leader of a cardiopulmonary specialty program. She also has acute care experience, having begun her nursing career in a 16-bed ICU. “That was a trial by fire way to learn nursing,” Swafford said.

Swafford is a certified OASIS specialist (COS-C) and holds coding certifications in both home health and hospice (HCS-D, HCS-H).

She has authored numerous scenarios and auditor training modules and is a frequent subject expert for home care magazines.

Swafford and her husband enjoy farm life with their large Pyrenees and Pyrenees/Akbash mix dogs, a few rabbits, goats, pigs, laying hens, one Jersey milk cow and several Pineywood cows. Pineywood is a heritage breed derived from cattle brought over by Spanish explorers. When she’s not working, Swafford enjoys crocheting, knitting, making soap, baking sourdough bread and playing with her 12 grandchildren.

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