Straight Talk - “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”

August 25, 2011

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

For healthcare professionals, accreditation by the respected Joint Commission is equivalent to the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.” Last week, The NCH Healthcare Group—which consists of 67 physicians, 14 nurse practitioners, 9 physician assistants, and 325 colleagues—experienced its first Joint Commission survey. It was a great success. So successful, in fact, I’d like to take two Straight Talks to expand on what the Joint Commission surveyors found. Here is Part One of the story.

In advance of the survey, our practice managers received valuable education from Rodney Judd, Director of Compliance, Mark Milner, Director of Clinical Outcomes Management, Karen Sandrick, Compliance Coordinator and Diane Worman, Director of Operations. Two physician surveyors with many years of private practice and Joint Commission experience between them conducted the survey. They visited more than half our 17 locations and found that—while not perfect—our facilities and procedures were nonetheless in admirable condition. For example:

  • Internal Medicine at Veterans Park – Beth Perz, Practice Manager.
    This first survey stop showcased excellent performance. Helen McMannus and Dr. David Sommerfeld demonstrated best practices and a thorough knowledge of the EMR. Helen was relieved by FP colleague Damia Champagne so that she could spend three hours with the surveyors, who were duly impressed with her knowledge and preparation.

  • Anticoagulation Clinic at Veterans Park – Miriam Means, Director.
    With Miriam on vacation, Kathy Hebert took the helm, interviewed while she consulted a patient and trained a new employee. Talk about stress! Kathy was confident, knew the Dose Response software well, practiced patient ID and infection prevention skillfully, did medication reconciliation, and e-prescribed a refill without a hitch. Again, the surveyors were impressed.

  • Cardiology – Med Plaza – Linda Cifani, Practice Manager.
    Linda and Dr. David Axline spent a good deal of time explaining the merger and migration to the EMR. Elaine Cellino then took over to discuss office processes and safety standards—all more than satisfactory.

  • Pulmonary – Debbie Auclair, Practice Manager.
    Surveyors interacted with Drs. Larry Albert, Barry Hertz, and Doug Harrington who discussed the challenge of learning a new system. Susan Garcia, medical records, discussed maintaining two systems, paper charts and EMR and the opportunity of going paperless. Kathy Kady, a new RN in the office, demonstrated her facility with the NextGen system. Debbie prepared her staff well by developing a Joint Commission learning guide, which has been shared with other offices.

  • Rheumatology, Gastroenterology – Creekside – Kim Hochman and Susan Sullivan, Practice Managers.
    Kim artfully explained process improvement. Susan Sullivan and Patricia Tregea explained very well the GI process, meds storage, EMR use, and use of the Cyracom phones for translation. Virginia Hennes, LPN, helped explain the infusion workflow process. The variance reporting system was demonstrated, and the physician surveyor was again pleased. I personally had the pleasure of watching this group in action.

    The importance of outpatient prevention and quality care for the overall health of the community cannot be overstated. Next week, tune in for Part Two about this auspicious first survey accreditation for The NCH Healthcare Group.


    Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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