CLOSING IN ON COMPLIANCE AND MORE
"Memorial Hospital is a 316-bed, independently owned and operated community hospital located just 15 minutes east of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, in the town of Belleville, Illinois. Serving its community since 1958, it is the area’s largest provider of surgical services, diagnostic imaging, and physical therapy/rehab service. It operates an 82-bed skilled nursing-rehab facility adjacent to the hospital, and sees over 65,000 patients annually in its Emergency Department."
In the face of ongoing healthcare changes and industry demands, the hospital’s leadership made a decision to partner with Crothall Healthcare for facility management and clinical engineering starting in July 2013. Up until that time, this had been handled in-house. The main driver for the change was to take advantage of Crothall’s programs and vast experience managing operations and achieving regulatory compliance—which is essential to receiving Medicare reimbursement and sustaining the hospital’s high level of care.
“Our hospital is not part of a system, we are independent,” said Chief Operating Officer Michael McManus. “As a result, the value-added services that Crothall brings in terms of regulatory compliance and project management are very helpful.”
In just the first year of the partnership, the groundwork was set to accomplish the contract goals and more efficiently manage construction projects and other operational activities—all while earning customer satisfaction scores of 99% for people inside the hospital requesting work to be done.
Crothall’s Paul Bugie, who has about 22 years of experience, was brought on as the Director of Facilities Management/Safety Officer under Regional Manager Phillip Van Cleave, FMA. Very early on, Bugie recognized an opportunity to promote one of the department’s experienced administrative assistants to the role of assistant director. She is now part of the Crothall management team that oversees a staff of about 25 people.
The top priority of the team has been to get the hospital in solid compliance with the requirements of the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). Crothall uses a binder format to organize the way things are presented to regulatory agencies, Bugie explained. Crothall’s corporate office sends out binder tabs to help ensure that all required testing and activities are completed and maintain the proper documentation.
Getting the groundwork in place is a process, Bugie noted. Crothall provides the tools needed to be effective.
Helping the hospital save money and more efficiently manage construction projects is another big valueadd that Crothall has brought to the hospital.
For example, when Bugie arrived, there was a $2 million-plus project pending to build a new data center. By tightly managing the project and trimming what he described as overdesigned elements, Bugie was able to help Memorial Hospital finish the project at a little over $1 million. Today, the data center is up and running and is being used by people hospital-wide.
Altogether, Bugie and the Crothall management team oversaw about $3 million in construction projects in the first year of the partnership. As a matter of routine, daily infection control rounds are done on every project to protect patients and ensure compliance to safety standards.
WORK ORDERS PROCESSES THAT WORK
On a day-to-day level, Crothall helps to keep the work orders running smoothly using its TeamOPS software. When work orders are completed, the software automatically generates a satisfaction survey to help monitor the quality of the work in areas such as effectiveness of department leadership, work order communication, and overall performance. Based on those reports, customer satisfaction scores from people requesting the work are in the 99th percentile.
In all, the volume of work orders at Memorial Hospital is about 3,000 per month.
- In September 2014, for example, there were 2,824 work orders; of those, 2,790 were completed. (The remaining ones may have come in at the very end of the month or could be waiting on parts, etc., Bugie noted.)
- Also, 445 preventive maintenance orders (PMs) were opened in September, and 445 were closed.
Reflecting back to the start of the Crothall partnership, McManus observed that it was sobering to employees initially to tell them that the hospital was going to manage facilities differently. “But at the end of the day, they see better services,” he said. PMs and response to work orders are good, and the plant operations team is more responsive to departments.
In just the first month that Bugie arrived, employee satisfaction scores within Facilities Management rose 10%. A highly skilled team was already in place when Crothall arrived and was ready to execute with Crothall’s leadership, Van Cleave remarked.
“Our hospital is not part of a system, we are independent. As a result, the valueadded services that Crothall brings in terms of regulatory compliance and project management are very helpful.”
– Michael McManus, Chief Operating Officer
“Crothall’s relationship with Memorial Hospital is a true partnership, and support from the hospital’s leadership is strong,” Bugie said. This can be felt in day-to-day operations and in more weighty matters, like capital investments.
Crothall’s help getting the multiple departments together on equipment decisions lends a strong teamwork approach and provides the hospital administration with valuable insight on things like annual operation costs, upkeep and maintenance, and warranties, McManus said.
As at many hospitals, Memorial Hospital has brought in an outside consulting firm to look at opportunities to realize financial and other improvements. That third party has validated the work that Crothall is doing and provided further assurances that the Facilities Management team is on the right track.
McManus acknowledged that bringing in an outside company like Crothall can be challenging, but he said that Crothall has done a good job managing interactions and helping the hospital advance toward its goals in today’s changing healthcare environment. “Everyone has stepped up,” he said.