Cayuga Centers: Policy & Procedure Management in a Pandemic

The best time to prepare for an emergency is before one occurs. In 2020, we saw a pandemic sweep the globe and change many aspects of our daily routines, especially for companies and organizations. Luckily, ComplianceBridge customers had TotalCompliance at the ready to help them respond to these changes in a timely manner. One customer in particular, Cayuga Centers, was able to utilize the text messaging feature to manage policy and procedure (P&P) rollout among a newly distributed workforce. Learn how a proactive response from both ComplianceBridge and Cayuga Centers led to a favorable outcome for this organization.

Cayuga Centers serves children and families in communities in New York, Delaware and Florida through a variety of social services programs including traditional Family Foster Care, Treatment Family Foster Care, community-based support programs, intellectual and developmental disability support and Migrant Foster Care. Cayuga Centers’ mosaic of programs is powered by an intricate network of policies and procedures.

To unify the patchwork of unique P&P requirements that each program works with, this nonprofit sought out TotalCompliance, a Policy & Procedure Management system powered by ComplianceBridge. They use the system to create and approve new documents, distribute to the appropriate recipients, manage notifications and acknowledgements, and follow up with staff both on an agency-wide basis and for specific departmental procedures. They have particularly benefited from the ability to include policy advisors in the process.

“TotalCompliance has been an incredible tool for us,” Sheri Stanzak, Assistant Director of Policy and Procedure Development, explains. “Each of our programs have very specific policy and procedure requirements, and this system brings everyone together. Now, all of our staff have access to our policy library. Everybody can log in and find the information they need.”

P&P Management in a Pandemic

Cayuga Centers experienced dramatic shifts in their day-to-day operations due to the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, pandemic. As a provider of social services, much of the success of their programs relies on close interactions with children, families and individuals in the field. As their services are deemed as “essential” during a public health crisis, they knew they needed to adapt quickly to continue safely providing these services.

“We’ve had to find creative solutions to maintain our engagement requirements,” says Beth Palin, Chief Financial Officer at Cayuga Centers. “Staff were limited and had to get creative when holding face-to-face meetings or making in home visits, and we’ve had to learn how to work remotely in some cases as an organization. All of these changes made in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have resulted in a book of new policies and procedures.”

A Remote Work Agreement was at the top of the list. The nature of the work Cayuga Centers undertakes does not naturally fit into a remote-work environment, so they never needed a set of formal parameters. They also needed to outline procedures for proper handling of personal protective equipment (PPE), social distancing guidelines, telemedicine and care management initiatives and much more. Every program required a unique approach in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Not only was the P&P development team responsible for directing the creation of new operating guidelines, these new policies and procedures needed to be rolled out quickly.

TotalCompliance Facilitates a Fast Rollout

As the public health emergency came to a head in the US, ComplianceBridge saw that swift, clear communication was vital for its customers. Policies and procedures were quickly undergoing critical changes, but employees were dispersed due to stay-at-home orders, making distribution and acknowledgement a difficult task.

In response, ComplianceBridge waived all text messaging fees to increase the speed of policy distribution. Cayuga Centers jumped at the opportunity to utilize this tool. The customer success team at ComplianceBridge expedited their onboarding for the service, helping Cayuga acquire extra licenses, inputting data and walking them through the process of sending out a message from start to finish. They were able to successfully communicate with both staff and foster parents throughout the pandemic as policies and procedures were created and updated.

“ComplianceBridge immediately saw a need for text messaging,” Stanzak says. “They’re response was spot on; they’ve fully supported us throughout the crisis.”

Palin adds, “Other, similar systems would have been burdensome to manage. TotalCompliance has been a piece of cake to set up and manage for our agency.”

Cayuga Centers uses the text messaging service to share updates, resources and new and/or modified operating procedures and policies. They’ve seen a great response from staff, who no longer need to worry that they have missed urgent information. Messages can even be viewed online, so even if a staff member does not opt in to receive text updates, they can still find the same information in which everybody else has been given access. It’s also been helpful for policy administrators, who are able to track distribution and acknowledgement of new guidelines, even with a distributed workforce.

In fact, even when operations return to “business as usual,” Cayuga Centers intends to continue utilizing this text messaging service through TotalCompliance to improve communication with the many employees who work in the field.

More Than Just a Customer

Cayuga Centers has experienced firsthand what it means to be a customer of ComplianceBridge. Organizations such as Cayuga run on a powerful policy and procedure management program, a fact that becomes especially apparent during a crisis as far-reaching and pervasive as the coronavirus pandemic. Fortunately, TotalCompliance has been a system robust and flexible enough to grow with them.

As their response to the pandemic evolves with the crisis, Cayuga Centers expects their policies and procedures to change, as well. The one thing that won’t change is their reliance on TotalCompliance to help manage their P&P development, though. The platform has streamlined their policy lifecycle and centralized P&P management into a single web-based location. The ability to bring writers, advisors and other stakeholders together in a collaborative way has sped up creation and resulted in more resilient policies and procedures. Cayuga Centers recommends this solution to any organization with extensive P&P requirements.

When an organization is impacted by a crisis, it’s important you’re prepared to take action as early as possible. TotalCompliance eliminates all obstacles preventing a proactive, successful response. To learn more about ComplianceBridge’s full suite of P&P and risk management products, schedule a demo today.