Improve Environmental Services, Improve HCAHPS Scores

As part of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare payments and incentives are redesigned to promote:

Improving Environmental Services

1. Achievement of high-quality care

2. Improvement in care quality

These changes were implemented October 1, 2012.

Environmental Services (EVS) plays a key role in the hospital’s HCAHPS score, which influences Medicare reimbursement. Of the 8 overall domains measured, cleanliness is one score. Going forward, hospital administrators will be focused on each of the areas that comprise the total score for the hospital. EVS managers will need to be prepared with tools and processes to successfully navigate their department through these challenges.

Key Areas of Focus for Each Department:

1. The patient experience and expectations*

  1. What is your level of knowledge and understanding of what the patient is experiencing during his/her stay?
  2. Do you understand what the patient’s expectations of cleanliness are?
  3. Are you affecting the patient’s senses during his/her stay?
  • Sight — does the patient perceive the room as clean?
  • Sound — does the environment sound like a healing setting?
  • Touch — does it feel like a clean atmosphere?
  • Smell — does it smell like a healthy location?

*Note that none of these items specifically requires an increase in costs to the department. Most of them require simple changes to processes and procedures.

2. Technology that allows greater productivity

  1. There are new “hands-free” disinfectant processes available, which have produced better results in sterilization than conventional wiping processes.
  2. There have been several advances in floor-care options.
  • Chemical-free stripping processes
  • Reduced water and chemical machines
  • Orbital scrubbers (as opposed to rotary machines used for many decades)
  • No-finish floor surfaces

c.  Microfiber cleaning tools are available.

  • Mops
  • Dusters
  • Cleaning cloths

3. Staffing

  1. Flexible/volume staffing is essential in ensuring EVS productivity meets the ever-growing demands while remaining balanced against hospital volumes.
  2. Engaging staff with scripting tools will drive participation in the patient experience.
  3. Staging room-cleaning processes will allow multiple contact points with patients.
  4. Ensure quiet cleaning practices during hospital quiet times.

4. Supply purchasing

  1. Utilize janitorial products that are supportive of the patient experience, cost effective, and will increase staff productivity.

Focusing on making improvements in each of these areas will influence HCAHPS scores and will ultimately affect levels of reimbursement in the future.

Since the implementation of this regulation on October 1, 2012, Soriant has geared up its services and partnered with multiple facilities to assess current operations.  Soriant’s expertise, particularly in the area of Environmental Services, has helped these institutions greatly reduce their risk to meet quality goals and maximize Medicare reimbursement.

For more information on how Soriant Healthcare can help your institution reduce the risk of losing Medicare reimbursement, contact us at info@sorianthealthcare.com

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