Magazine article Health Facilities Management

The Changes Facing Environmental Services

Magazine article Health Facilities Management

The Changes Facing Environmental Services

Article excerpt

Hospitals are seeing a strong shift from inpatient care to outpatient care, patients are utilizing urgent care centers vs. emergency rooms, and patients are qualifying as observation status vs. inpatient status. This all has had a huge impact on hospital reimbursements. Health care professionals are experiencing unprecedented times and we need to know how to survive in a climate we have never experienced before. Not only do we need to understand it and get used to it, but we also need to prosper in it.

Environmental services (ES) professionals need to have a clear understanding of how our profession ties into reimbursements and how we can have a positive effect on them. We have an impact on the reimbursements from HCAHPS scores, but we also need to demonstrate our impact on reducing health care-associated infections (HAIs). Some may refer to those costs as soft costs, but it's money we lose if we have to spend it and there is also a huge cost to affected patients and their families.

ES not only has to show value as a cost center, but it also has to constantly vie for its place in the hierarchy. Clinical staff are constantly stretched to meet the direct needs of the patients. Any nonclinical tasks undertaken by clinical staff in the past are slowly moving down on their priority list. In some cases, ES is being asked to pick up some of those as additional tasks because we're considered a support service.

How can ES make a better impact on this new world? We can make sure that patients experience a clean environment and that their risk of acquiring an HAI is drastically reduced because our staff are proficient in the use of chemicals and in cleaning high-touch surfaces. …

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