Wednesday, February 23, 2011

That's What It's All About

February 23, 2011

Governor Mark Parkinson
President & CEO, AHCA/NCAL
By: Governor Mark Parkinson, President and CEO, AHCA/NCAL

I just returned from our annual Quality Symposium in San Antonio, Texas. Once again the symposium demonstrated the tireless commitment that our membership has to providing outstanding care for the greatest generation.

Of particular note was the Friday morning CEO panel moderated by Neil Pruitt, Vice Chair of the AHCA Board of Governors and President and CEO of UHS-Pruitt Corporation. The panel featured insights from Gail Clarkson of MediLodge, Dr. Neil Kurtz of Golden Living, and Tony Oglesby from SavaSeniorCare. Each runs their respective companies, and each has had stunning success in improving quality.

I was not surprised that all of them instituted the type of goal setting and strategic planning that we are undertaking here at AHCA/NCAL. Their focus is resident, family and employee satisfaction. Each measures everything, provides incentives for reaching goals, and focuses on areas for improvement.

The results from these 3 companies speak for themselves:
  • At MediLodge, quality improvements have led to customer and staff satisfaction rates of 95% and 85%, respectively, with the average tenure of administrators lasting beyond 10 years.
  • At Golden Living, improved quality measures and performances at the staff level doubled the number of deficiency-free surveys in facilities from 17 to 30 in just one year.
  • At SavaSeniorCare, the organization focused on workforce stability, among other assets, and produced impressive results. Staff turnover has been reduced by almost 30% and customer satisfaction has increased by 11%.
These results reflect the quality phenomenon that’s happening in our profession today. Our 2010 Annual Quality Report indicates that in areas that really matter, like the use of restraints, reports of residents in pain, and the presence of pressure ulcers, nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country are making remarkable progress profession-wide. Today, 39 percent of Medicare patients return home within 100 days of admission, a percentage that has increased annually since 2003.

As significant as these measurable improvements are, it is important to remember that some areas of quality cannot be measured. During the symposium, I was able to tell attendees about the many acts of quality that I personally observed during my 10 year experience with residents.

Sometimes quality is a gentle touch on the shoulder of a lonely resident, a warm smile, or even a big hug. Other times it’s taking a moment to listen to a resident share her life experience through a story.
Quality means allowing residents to continue their own hobbies and pastimes, well into their old age. Whether it’s watching basketball, going out to eat, or reading a book, quality recognizes and accommodates residents’ needs, wants and desires.

Quality is a CNA who knows that every resident doesn’t want to wake up at the same time. She wakes residents when they want, not when it’s convenient for her schedule.  Quality is a chef who knows just how the resident likes his breakfast and has it ready and warm for him every day.

And perhaps most importantly, quality is not focusing on what our residents cannot do, but celebrating what they can. Whether it’s taking another step during rehabilitation therapy or using artistic talent to create a work of art for the facility, it all happens in a quality environment with quality people.

This makes our work in Washington even more important. While we’ll continue the battles for Medicare, Medicaid, and other resources, we’ll never forget what we’re really fighting for - quality. The Quality Symposium was a great reminder of what it’s really all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment