Celtic Ensuring Service Excellence in Patient Care

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Excellence in Patient CareBy Kathleen Ganster

Celtic Healthcare was built with Service Excellence in Patient Care as one of its core values and missions said Bill Gammie, Vice President of Regional Operations.

That is why the organization has embraced the Medicare- mandated patient satisfaction survey requirements (HHCAHPS).

“There is nothing more powerful than a patient or family member telling us how we made a difference in their care,” he said.

Like every home healthcare provider, Celtic has a third- party provider who surveys patients and then provides that information to Celtic and Medicare for reporting purposes.

“We are in the business of caring for people, and the vendor is in the business of conducting the surveys and gathering the results. This process allows us to do what we do best,” Gammie said.

Measuring patient satisfaction is fast becoming an element of healthcare in our society, said Gammie. While it is mandated in certain facets of healthcare, Gammie sees it becoming required in all areas eventually.

“I think it will continue to be part of the healthcare process and an important one,” Gammie said.

Sean Hunt, Senior Information Analyst said there are over 20 different questions used for patient satisfaction scoring along with other questions for various other measures.

“Providers can also choose to add other questions,” Hunt said.

Patients who use Celtic Healthcare services for as few as two visits are eligible to be surveyed. Celtic provides a list of patients to their vendor, who then uses government guidelines to survey the patients about their care.

According to Hunt, some of those questions include not only measuring medical care, but also include other critical healthcare issues.

“There are other important measures of patient care such as did the provider treat you with respect and courtesy, did they treat you gently, and were they informative and up-to-date with information,” Hunt said.

The third-party vendor who administers the surveys and provides data to Celtic is key, said Hunt, “The have a pretty robust reporting platform, but we take it a step further.”

“For the taxpayer, this is a great thing. It provides standardization and allows the results to be objective. I think patients feel more comfortable in completing the surveys too,” he said, “This is a pipeline to our customer.”

In his role, Hunt takes the data provided for Celtic to analyze for their own use.

And that means using all of the information gathered, not just positive comments.

Although unusual, less than positive results are used for addressing care items that can be changed and improved.

“We address these at the highest level at our top executive meetings. We take the information and see what we can learn from it and what may need to be changed,” Gammie said.

If there are negative comments, Gammie said, they always follow-up with the patient or family member who completed the survey to address any issues.

“If they are submitted anonymously, we try to obtain further information, but even when we can’t contact the person, we address every concern,” Gammie added.

Celtic shares the results of the surveys with their staff to ensure that the importance of patient satisfaction is stressed as “part of the culture.”

“Sharing information helps everyone – whether it is positive or negative,” he said.

Positive results are celebrated. Staff members with high scores are recognized at staff functions and meetings.

The response rate of patient satisfaction surveys for Celtic patients is unusually high, something Gammie attributes to their culture.

“Communicating with our patients is so important, and we let them know that. They know we want to hear what they have to say,” he said.

Celtic has also chosen for those who utilize their hospice care to participate in the survey process– even though it is not yet mandated.

“Service Excellence has been one of our core values since we started. It will always be paramount to Celtic,” Gammie said.

For more information, visit www.celtichealthcare.com