Tell Me Now: Understanding Patient Preferences

8/19/2016

Part 10 of a series
L. Lee Isley, Chief Executive Officer, Granville Health System

I’d like to thank the members of the community who have shared with me their experiences at Granville Health System. I appreciate hearing from you about the care you received at our hospital. The positive experiences are nice to hear, but sharing our opportunities helps us to continue to improve your local health care system.


As you may remember from a previous column, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid Services (CMS) requires us to survey our patients about the care they received while at our hospital. The purpose of the survey is to create a national standard for collecting and publicly reporting patients' perspectives of care enabling comparisons across hospitals. 


One of the things that CMS wants to understand is how well Granville Health System worked to take your preferences into account when deciding your health care needs after you leave our hospital.


When asking how well we took into account patient preferences, the answer choices are “Strongly Agree”, “Agree”, “Strongly Disagree” and “Disagree”. CMS only recognizes “Strongly Agree”. All other responses indicate GHS did not take the patient’s preferences into account. Additionally, the health system’s performance on this question is reflected in Medicare’s reimbursement to the hospital.


At Granville Health System, an entire care team will come together in evaluating a patient’s needs after a hospital stay. The care team will include nurses, physicians, Transitional Care Specialists and others. The team works together to gather all the necessary information and resources in working with a patient on health care needs. The patients themselves are the most important members of the care team. Some patients involve their support system of family, friends and care-givers in these decisions, and they bring valuable information and resources to the table. However, it is ultimately the patient’s decision to make.


A physician might determine that a skilled nursing facility offers the best option for continued care for a particular patient. These facilities are often called nursing homes or rehab centers. Patients often have questions about transitioning to this type of facility. Our care team takes time to discuss all the options that offer the level of care the patient needs. At the same time, they take into account the patient’s preferences for this continued care.


Patients face many decisions about their health care needs after a hospital stay. In addition to resolving what type of care is best, they may also decide a date and time for follow-up care; which physician to use for follow-up care; which agency to use for skilled nursing care at home; which long-term care facility to use for rehabilitation; what type of medical equipment to use at home; and more.


These decisions can seem overwhelming, especially when they must be made in a short amount of time. Some of the decisions involve life-threatening conditions or come at a time when emotions are running high. Our Transitional Care team is particularly skilled at navigating patients through this process. And they are some of the most caring and compassionate people I know.


Once the patient makes a decision, the Transitional Care team also assists by providing information on the selection of a specific facility or agency to use. They also provide personalized services to align resources, facilitate conversations and establish appointments. 


CMS wants hospitals to engage patients and their families in choosing their continued care after a hospital stay. Their goal is to keep patients healthy and avoid another in-patient stay or visit to the Emergency Department. This is the goal of Granville Health System, too.


To this end, the Transitional Care team will even visit patients at their home after they are discharged from the hospital. This team is able to assess the needs of the patient in the comfort of their own home and help them to navigate community resources. Their visit ensures that patients have filled their prescriptions, that they followed up with their primary care physician and that the patient is transitioning back into a normal, healthy routine. 


Our team even includes Granville EMS. Our paramedics can help manage these home visits and collaborate with all members of the health care team to support the individual needs of each patient.


Understanding and taking patient preferences into account is the right thing to do for our patients. Granville Health System is pleased to offer choices to our patients about their follow up care because it leads to healthier patients and a better quality of life for our community.


We remain committed to delivering quality care and excellent customer service to our patients. As I’ve shared in past columns, we want to earn a 10 for your patient experience and that experience includes understanding your preferences for continued care after your hospital stay. We want to ensure that you “Strongly Agree” that the System took your preferences into account in making these decisions.


Our mission at Granville Health System is to make certain you always have access to the appropriate care at the appropriate time.


Thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions and address your concerns. Please consider sending me feedback about your experience at GHS by contacting me by email at lisley@granvillemedical.com.


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