*Note: The following statements reflect the opinions of individuals and are in no way claims made by AHE.
Why do you believe it is worth the cost to implement CHEST certification training in your facility for your technicians?
Vasilios: By implementing the CHEST certification training, you are standardizing your Environmental Services department's processes. All of your Environmental Technicians will be working the same way and utilizing best practices taught during the training program. There will also be prestige that comes with the CHEST training.
Rose: Retention of staff, showing them we value them and their expertise to invest time and money in them. Knowledgeable staff who know how to clean correctly for infection reduction and prevention.
Debbie: Best practice in healthcare includes standardizing practices using published national best practice recommendations. The AHE sponsored certification will provide every healthcare organization in the country with the opportunity for "turn key" best practice training and validation through CHEST. This will in turn, improve quality outcomes in healthcare related to reduction of environmental risks of infection, improve customer service and promote the elevation of the role of the environmental service staff in healthcare facilities.
Nazar: Since CHEST is based on behavior and duties, it is the best of both world. Not only do technicians learn the proper way to perform their duties, they also learn “why” they perform them in such a manner to derive at the desired results. The certification training removes the guessing from the equation and enables our technicians to perform at a high level by having a systematic and scientific approach when performing their duties.
Pam: Staff need to be recognized for their speciality/profession in todays Healthcare environment. Showing we have the best of the best....educated, competent, professional front line staff.
Kent: This program/certification will substantially increase the morale and pride of the front-line colleagues. CHEST will also improve the expertise of the front-line colleagues in their day-to-day responsibilities.
Jim: Let’s face it . . . This is the best healthcare focused certification program in the industry and provides your organization with a professional succession planning tool.
What do you believe will be the return on investment for your facility? How do you expect to see the ROI?
Vasilios: The ROI will be the clinical cleanliness of your facility! In today's healthcare world you are reimbursed based on performance, if your Environmental Services team goes through the CHEST training and successfully pass the exam you and your management team should instantly see a difference in the cleanliness of your facility. The everyday processes (cleaning, disinfecting, trash & linen removal, etc.) should be competed almost flawlessly. You should be able to see the ROI's both by observation and utilizing some kind of ATP test. Also, by speaking to your staff members and asking the right questions because if they go through the the CHEST training and pass the exam they will be well versed.
Rose: Retention of staff saves money on recruiting and training new members of the department. Proper cleaning leads to decrease in HAI’s and increase in patient satisfaction scores in Environment dimension. This leads to better payment from Medicare.
- Increased productivity
- Lower HAI rates
- A cleaner and safer facility
- Confidence form patients and other customers knowing that the EVS techs are qualified to perform their duties
- I expect to see the ROI through the following:
- better HAI rates (before and after)
- Improved morale
- Decrease in turnover
- Decrease in absenteeism
- Fewer injuries
- Less complaints from patients or customers
Pam: Decrease readmissions, decrease threat for outbreaks, increase in patient satisfaction, increase in reimbursement
Kent: One, an improved knowledge base of the front-line colleagues. Since there is this increased knowledge I have the full expectation that there will be an increase of HCAHPS scores and a substantial reduction in HAIs.
Jim: Reduction in turnover, increased morale, reduction in hospital acquired infections and increased patient satisfaction.
The ROI for healthcare at large?
Vasilios: Healthcare organizations must find ways to increase the quality of care while decreasing costs; if our Environmental Services Technicians can get the CHEST training, pass the certification exam and get certified then the quality of care will without a doubt increase and we will be able to function at lower costs because we will be working correctly and utilizing our FTE's more efficiently. We will be able to get better outcomes despite caring for larger numbers of patients because our Technicians will be well versed in dealing with the customer, regardless of the customer is the patient, the patients family, the nurse, the respiratory tech and even the doctor. Our staff will become more efficient!
Rose: Reduction of HAI’s leads to more faith in the healthcare industry and lower the costs of healthcare services.
Nazar: Lower HAI rates, More reimbursements, Increased HCHAPS or patient satisfaction scores
Pam: decrease the potential for owning someones healthcare financially inrease reimbursement increase in staff satisfaction, decrease in turnover, high engagement Leader in the Healthcare industry and public perception increasing likelihood to recommend, thus potentially increasing market share
Kent: I would expect to see an improvement in a patient's experience as a whole. Knowledge is power!
Jim: Changing the industry’s reputation from housekeepers sweeping and mopping floors to Healthcare Environmental Services Specialist able to provide a safe environment reducing the risks of hospital acquired infections (HAI’s) and improving the patient experience.
How quickly do you anticipate being able to see the return?
Vasilios: Healthcare is constantly changing so, yes, you will definitely see instant ROI and as the 'business' changes our CHEST technicians will be able to adapt. This will in turn give you some long term success that you should be able to sustain of all of you Environmental Services Technicians become certified.
Rose: Staff satisfaction and noticeable increase in skills in first 6 months. Up to one year to see Press Ganey scores and infection rates decrease.
Debbie: I would estimate it at 1-2 years post implementation, depending on the degree of use in the organization and dedication to having a program based on best practice.
Nazar: I anticipate seeing the return right away as far as a confidence and morale booster. Improved performance should be noticeable within the first few weeks of implementation of the training, and depending what a facility measures, improved HAI rates and higher patient satisfaction scores should improve within the first 3 to 6 months of implementation.
Pam: Depending on facility could be immediate if the culture is respect, integrity, teamwork
Kent: HAI reduction should be immediate. It takes some time to see results from any improvements for HCAHPS to show up.
How are YOU justifying this expenditure to your CEO/CFO/boss?
Vasilios: I already started talking about the CHEST training & exam to my administration. I have pointed out the standardization, which is huge for a Health System like mine (NSLIJ), the prestige that will come with certifying our Environmental Services Aides and also pointing out that this is the future of Environmental Services. Eventually, of our Environmental Services will HAVE to be certified because that will be the standard nationwide, so let's start now so we're ahead of the curve.
Rose: We need to be the leaders and advertise how we are improving healthcare and how many certified employees we have on staff. ES is a major piece of patient satisfaction and impressing on our patients that we clean and sanitize correctly for their safety.
Nazar: As a contractor, my argument is that the certification of my staff will assist us in acquiring further government contracts and will separate us form the competition. It is an expense that could be added to the annual value of my contracts and I could possibly get reimbursed form the government once I make an argument for certification of my staff.
Kent: Interestingly I just met with my temporary boss (the president of our hospital) and discussed CHEST. He is impressed with AHEs efforts in this arena. He has offered a full support for any expenses associated with the program ("We will find a way to pay for it"). He also has offered to hand out the certificates to the colleagues at the time of presentation.
Jim: This program complements the Certified Healthcare Environmental Services Professional (CHESP) with a focus on developing the staff for succession planning. Having CHEST staff members working at your facility will result in less turnover, improved employee, customer and patient satisfaction scores, and reduced HAI’s. Once an employee has been CHEST certified, they have proven to be a leader in their field.
Please share other thoughts on the benefits of TTT and technician certification:
Vasilios: I truly believe that the CHEST certification will help facilities differentiate themselves as high performing
Nazar: I will be presenting on CHEST the first week of May to a few of the decision makers for Source America which is a non for profit agency that awards government contracts to contractors like myself. The plan is to try and make the CHEST a requirement for all Department of Defense (DOD) hospital environmental services contracts. Currently, all DOD contracts for EVS require the project manager to be CHESP certified, and the performance work statement is based on AHE’s practice guidance. So, the CHEST will make total sense at least for the government.
Kent: It the right time for this to come to fruition. With the major changes in healthcare we are under at this time, we need better educated workers.
Jim: CHEST professionals are the future of our industry and the CHEST program substantiates the importance of continuing education. Once an Environmental Services Specialist has acquired the prestigious CHEST certification, they have proven their competency to their customers, patients, peers and their leadership team and earned the recognition as a true professional in the Healthcare Environmental Services profession.
How will this program will positively affect environmental service technicians and their contributions to the profession?
Jim: It’s time to take the reputation of the Environmental Services Specialists out of the dark ages, they are not just “Housekeepers,” they are skilled professionals with training in higher level personal protection equipment, proper handling of chemicals, bio-hazardous waste management and disinfection techniques. Specialists serve as the one of the strongest links in mitigating risks in the chain of infection for keeping patients with an immunocompromised system safe. With the growing challenges facing our country’s healthcare facilities today, I would be comforted in knowing that my loved ones are being cared for by an organization that has proven CHESP leaders and CHEST technicians trained in their profession to maintain a clean and safe environment.
How quickly would you anticipate being able to see the return on investment for your facility?
Jim: Within the first 3 months I anticipate a reduction of turnover by 25% over previous years, which will save money spent in recruiting, interviewing, hiring and training staff. Within the first year, this program will pay for itself as it will reduce our expenses by $13,718.49. This program will not only increase the skill level of the employees, it will also improve the morale of the department. Results will be more satisfied patients which equates to improved satisfaction scores and increased reimbursements.