The New Health Care Reality and Its Effects on Health Care Environmental Services

By Osmond Adams

October 31st, 2018 | Formats: Technical Paper | Content Areas: Administration | Tags: Change Management, Management, Sustainability


Over the last 25 years the health care environment has undergone major and traumatic change. The meteoric rise in the cost of health care, combined with the need for quality and competition, put the health care industry at the top of the national agenda for reform. In the late 1980s, significant changes occurred in the way hospitals were paid. Omachonu (1991), in examining the efficiency of US hospitals, noted that in the late 80s health care costs in the US skyrocketed to almost $700 billion and that the way hospitals were reimbursed provided little incentive for efficiency. Payment by Medicaid and insurers was determined primarily on the costs incurred in providing patient care (Omachonu, 1991). In effect, the system encouraged waste, and provided
little incentive for efficiency. The new system of reimbursement known as the Prospective Pricing System (PPS) was introduced to help drive down costs and improve efficiency.

The increase in health care associated infections (HAIs) is an alarming national issue. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2002), HAIs raised by 36% over the last 25 years and the cost is estimated at between 28 and 45 billion dollars. Annually 2 million patients suffer from HAIs and an estimated 900 die. This ranks HAIs as the fifth leading cause of death in the USA (CDC, 2009). The prevalence of HAIs combined with the emergence of a number of new pathogenic bacteria has given rise to national alarm. This continues to be an area of significant focus.

The combination of reimbursement changes, HAIs and newly emerging pathogens have had a significant impact on health care Environmental Services (ES). While many hospitals have been forced to reduce ES staff and reduce budgets, these changes have also given rise to innovations and creativity within the industry. Today, despite their many challenges, ES is an important participant in making decisions around construction, technology, infection prevention and patient satisfaction in health care institutions. This paper will examine how these changes in the health care industry have impacted ES operations.
 

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