As part of the proposed changes to healthcare, reimbursement for hospital care and post-acute care will be bundled; patient readmission’s will be at a lower rate in some cases; hospital reimbursement and performance will be directly linked; and physician self-referral will be more closely regulated. Out of those four important items, environmental services has a direct impact on two—readmission rates and performance-based reimbursements. A sufficiently staffed environmental services department plays a major role in minimizing patient readmission’s. The proliferation of microorganisms affecting our communities and the patient population demands a properly cleaned and disinfected care environment. It is my belief that investing in the environmental services department and assuring proper funding, staffing, training, and consistent cleaning procedures and protocols will have a positive impact on lowering the infection rates, lowering the rate of “never” events like patient falls and improving patient satisfaction rates. Each of these examples provides a direct link between our departments and performance-based reimbursements.
So what does this all mean to the environmental services department? This is an opportunity to position the department as the front-line quality assurance and infection control team able to facilitate cost containment for the health care facility and ensure a proper setting for care delivery throughout the continuum of care. Speak up and make sure your senior leaders know the value you and the departmental staff bring to the health care facility. Make the business case for what you do and the big-picture impact on finances, patient readmission and performance-based reimbursement.