No one enjoys a pop quiz but when you ace it, it feels extra good. That’s how team members with Prowers Medical Center’s home health department felt when the state surveyors made a surprise visit to conduct a Medicare certification survey in March 2018. They stayed the week to make sure the medical center was meeting strict state and federal guidelines for patient care. The home health team passed with flying colors and zero deficiency marks.
“There was a lot of cheering afterwards when we learned they didn’t find any deficiencies just like three years ago. She told us point blank that earning it twice in a row doesn’t happen very often, so we shouldn’t expect it. That’s why we were extra thrilled,” said Micaela Aguilera, RN, Home Health Administrator for Prowers Medical Center.
The state surveyors come approximately every three years to sift through patient and staff files, attend home health visits with staff, make sure the team is following doctor’s orders with each and every patient, and following patient privacy laws. They also ensure patient plans of care are followed to a T, and that patients are receiving all recommended services from therapists, nurses and doctors.
“The state actually conducts two surveys—one for the state and one for the federal government—each with their own set of rules. That means we could get cited on either survey,” Aguilera stated.
One reason Prowers Medical Center’s home health team has been so successful is because they are continually completing self-checks to make sure they are following all rules. If they notice anything that needs attention they make a plan for improvement. The team is proud of their dedication to quality and their ability to provide seamless continuity of care from hospital to home. For example, the team makes sure patients see the same physical or occupational therapist that they saw in the hospital at home and in outpatient rehabilitation.
“We really work well together as a team, with a shared goal of putting the patient’s needs first,” Aguilera said.
The surveyors also look at personnel files to make sure everyone is up to speed on their education requirements, certifications and background checks. All providers must receive continuing education each year to make sure they are trained in providing the latest care techniques.
“Since we are such a small community, it’s neighbors caring for neighbors. Since all of our nurses are from Lamar they take ownership in doing a really good job. We enjoy treating patients with TLC and little extras that don’t fall within what’s expected, such as providing free courtesy checks, running to pick up medications and staying an extra few minutes to chat and connect,” Aguilera said.
Prowers Medical Center has been providing home health services since 1997. In the home health care industry, turnover of staff is notorious but that doesn’t happen here. This dedication to the community is what makes the department so strong.
Home health provides skilled nursing, diabetes education, medication education and management, rehabilitation services and wound care in the home. For more information on home health services at Prowers Medical Center, call (719) 336-6881 or (719) 336-6882.