Our journey to excellence is a road that can take a variety of twists and turns, but in the end our eyes are always focused on patients first. With this in mind, there still is a primary challenge—health care reform payments.
Why — Most businesses today are continuously seeking ideas about how to serve customers better with the ultimate goal of having such wonderful satisfaction from customers, they probably wouldn’t go anywhere else for that same service. PAHCS is truly no different as far as wanting to hear from our patients; however, we don’t have a choice of how we go about getting the information.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (federal program) has mandated that every patient who is hospitalized across this country will receive the same survey. In the past, there has been the opportunity to customize the survey by adding to the standard mandated questions a couple of additions such as “did you find parking conveniently” that were specific to that facility. Today, the same set of questions is being sent to every patient and reported nationally. Why? The federal government has decided that payment for services will be impacted based on the results of a facility’s surveys. We are being told that within the next year, poor performing hospitals will have dollars reduced from their payment for services provided if scores fall below certain target levels. At this time, we don’t know a dollar amount or if our organization will have some protection as a critical access hospital. Through several years of study, the federal government has determined that patients who are happy and satisfied with service have likely received better care and have better outcomes than those patients who describe their experience poorly. While we all could probably find arguments regarding this methodology, we are required to follow the same procedure as every other hospital across the country who provides services to individuals covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Conducting the surveys does come with a cost since we need to have the actual survey conducted by an outside vendor who then reports our scores to a national data base.
More than ever before we need everyone who receives a survey to complete it; we need to hear what we have done well and where it is we have opportunity to improve. Our internal quality department can look at results continuously as the company receives completed surveys. This allows us to be able to address in a timely manner what it is we need to do to improve.
Tami Stanger and Pam Boettcher team up to analyze our results, make recommendations for areas to improve and assist me in communicating the results to our Board of directors.
These surveys are just one of several changes that are being made at the federal level related to reimbursement. Our commitment stays consistent and strong—doing the right thing, at the right time, at the right place and focused on each and every patient. If you are surveyed—we would appreciate you completing the form. We can’t improve on things we don’t know and we wouldn’t want to change anything you tell us that we are doing well.
Thu, December 1, 2011
by Happenings Winter 2011