Helping Northern Nevada Healthcare Facilities Score High: HCAHPS

When it comes to your health, especially at a time when a hospital visit is necessary, the only thing you should have to worry about is your health, not the health of the hospital that’s treating you–a crisp, clean building, friendly and caring staff, proper care, and an experience that makes you feel as comfortable as possible while you focus on your healing.

This is the standard for regulatory requirements for healthcare facilities, in fact, there is a nationwide standard that all hospitals across the U.S. are scored on, ensuring they’re meeting requirements for their patients and for their facility: HCAHPS.

At Spruce, we work with healthcare facilities across our northern Nevada region and have a hand in helping our local hospitals meet (and exceed) the standards of HCAHPS, their patients, and their community from a cleanliness and safety perspective.

What Is HCAHPS?

HCAHPS, which stands for Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, is a national, standardized survey that is publicly reported and is based on a patient’s review of their hospital care. 

The very first public recording didn’t occur until March 2008, when HCAHPS was made a nationwide standard. Before then, hospitals took it upon themselves to survey their patients and gain the patient’s perspective on their own, and there wasn’t an equal nationwide standard for hospital care, therefore it was difficult to make comparisons between hospitals. Thanks to HCAHPS, it’s now possible!

How Are HCAHPS Measured?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the HCAHPS Project Team are at the head of the HCAHPS initiative. They continually make steps and needed changes to assure patients (or potential patients) of a hospital can rely on these credible, useful, and practical scores.

HCAHPS are driven on three major goals:

  1. Obtain consistent data across hospitals about their perspective of care.
  2. Publicly report findings of each hospital which patients can use as comparison, and drive an initiative for healthcare facilities to always strive to improve their quality of care.
  3. To increase transparency among the healthcare industry and enhance accountability.

Between 48 hours and six weeks of discharge, a random group of discharged patients receive a HCAHPS survey to review their experience at their given hospital. The survey contains 29 questions regarding their stay, 19 of which are about critical components of their visit. For example, critical components would be the communication with nurses and doctors, responsiveness of staff, the cleanliness of the healthcare facility, communication about medicines, discharge, more. 

After quarterly collections of surveys, CMS publicly releases reports from the hospital’s four consecutive quarters of patient surveys.

Cleanliness, Safety, and HCAHPS

So where does Spruce come in? Our EVS (environmental services) department focuses on the work that will provide a clean, safe, comfortable, and sanitary environment for all patients of that healthcare facility. 

Through our programs, policies, and procedures, we support our Sprucers to reduce bacterial and nosocomial infection rates in all patient and resident care areas, ensuring patients feel safer and infections stay minimal. Our process includes many areas of work, including providing cleaning and sanitation services to the invasive regions of the hospital, ensuring customer satisfaction and appropriateness while our team’s at work, and continuing in environmental enhancement and training programs.

We work hard to continue to educate and keep our Sprucers up to date on HCAHPS compliance requirements through training. This specific departmental education includes: 

  1. Fire and Life Safety
  2. Body Mechanics
  3. Infection Control
  4. Policy and Procedure Review
  5. Hazardous Materials and Waste
  6. Patient and Resident Rights
  7. Confidentiality and HIPAA
  8. Occurrence Reporting
  9. Technical Training specific to Job Description
  10. Department Orientation
  11. Safety Orientation
  12. Two Day Introductory Training
  13. Emergency Preparedness

Carson Tahoe Health

All 38 of Nevada’s hospitals participate in the nationwide HCAHPS, including one of Spruce’s largest healthcare facilities, Carson Tahoe Health. As partners with Carson Tahoe Health as well as strong advocates for doing our part in keeping our community as healthy and safe as possible, we’re proud to work hard for (and with) this northern Nevada hospital.

To put the hard work we do for Carson Tahoe Health into perspective, we’ve looked at Carson Tahoe’s HCAHPS scores in comparison with the state of Nevada and national averages. Currently, the national average for Cleanliness of Hospital Environment is 76%, and the Nevada state average sits at 75%. As of 2020, Carson Tahoe Health averages an impressive 83% for Cleanliness of Hospital Environment! 

These numbers light us up, and show us, and our community, that Spruce and our partners at Carson Tahoe Health are making an impact!

HCAHPS and Reimbursement

First and foremost, our Sprucers, along with our healthcare partners like Carson Tahoe Health, are here to serve our community in the safest and most productive way possible. In addition to that mindset, healthcare is a business and patients are customers, so how can impressive HCAHPS scores help with reimbursement and healthcare as a business?

Ultimately, if a patient is unimpressed with the care, cleanliness, and environment of their hospital stay, they have the option to take their business elsewhere. Because this is the case, HCAHPS play an extremely essential role in highlighting the quality of care our hospitals provide. Great HCAHPS scores mean happier patients, more business, a safer environment.