Everyone inside healthcare is focused on controlling costs, especially since penalties are seriously impacting CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) reimbursements to hospitals.
Hospitals are not faced with CMS participation payments when treating patients who develop a hospital-acquired infection (HAI).
According to recent research, hospitals are already negative $1,100 for every patient as soon as they are admitted due to the cost of HAIs. Hospitals also receive reduced reimbursements for high HAIs occurrences, readmissions, and poor patient scores. The current administration wants 50 percent of all reimbursements tied to quality by 2016, which means more potential costs for hospitals to absorb.
Consequently, controlling HAIs is quickly becoming a focus of hospital administrators. Reducing HAIs can mean reducing readmissions, improving patient-rating scores, and improving quality of care. In many cases, this means retaining millions of dollars in revenue per year that would otherwise be withheld. Infection control is now at the forefront of every hospital administrator’s improvement agenda.
Training is one of the key elements in assuring that all employees are on board and doing their part to keep patients safe. Hospitals have increased their emphasis on hand hygiene, new disinfecting chemicals, and specialized infection-reducing equipment and alloys.
One of the overlooked aspects of infection control is complying with CDC recommendations for training all outside-contractor employees who perform work in hospitals. Contractors and maintenance workers are all to have infection-control awareness training and the training shall be refreshed annually.
In the past, hospitals were successful in keeping many legal actions quiet due to settlement clauses. Today, HAIs are tracked and made public, and social media has further compounded the issue since patient families are quick to announce problems to anyone who will listen.
Larger hospitals are hiring social-media experts to promote good stories and bury negative publicity. Even attorneys are attending training seminars on how to effectively sue hospitals on behalf of injured patients for HAIs. Part of their modus operandi is to subpoena all maintenance- and construction-related work near the room where the patient stayed. Part of the documentation quest is information on training each worker received.
Similar to a football team with no organized plays, maintenance and construction workers who do not know how their work can cause an HAI present a greater danger to immune-compromised patients.
Additionally, more hospital-installed equipment comes with warranties that require the manufacturer’s technicians to perform all repair work. As hospitals outsource more of their regular maintenance work, as well as add more manufacturer-trained technicians, a lot of workers enter hospital buildings throughout the year who do not know how their work can create patient-safety issues.
Already overburdened facility managers and infection preventionists have no time to dedicate to an ongoing need for training.
With the advent of cloud technology, training can be offered to contractor employees at anytime from anywhere without the need to schedule conference rooms, AV equipment, or IT staff. The cloud holds the training materials and can be accessed from any smart device. Contractors do not have to pull employees off current jobs to be trained at a hospital for an upcoming project and eat the cost of employee downtime. Maintenance companies like the idea of training workers in off times that don’t impact job production on other projects. Cloud technology also allows hospitals to quickly access records and print reports to demonstrate training compliance.
Infection Control Awareness training for maintenance and construction company workers in a cloud format is already offered by a Midwestern healthcare technology company: Infection Control University, LLC (ICU). ICU’s training resides on a cloud computer which is HIPPA compliant and accessible 24/7 for training or record retrieval.
In addition to offering a compliant program, the format provides a consistent training message and testing to verify learning. All trainees must pass the 20-question test with a score of 80 percent or greater before receiving their training ID cards.
A unique aspect of ICU’s program is that the training is free to the hospital, since it is a contractor-paid program. Maintenance and construction contractors pay a monthly fee for the training.
There is a one-time set up fee for organizing the contractor company within the software system. Hospitals receive free, unlimited internal use of the program to train maintenance personnel, environmental services, and even security.
Security members now have an added goal of aiding the monitoring of safe work practices by outside contractors. An extra set of eyes to police safety in the facility can be invaluable.
Infection Control University (ICU) is a cloud-based learning center that provides Infection Control Awareness training and certification to hospital and contractor employees who work in healthcare facilities in order to manage risks and reduce HAIs.
For more information, visit https://www.infectioncontroluniversity.com/.