RSSAuthor Archive for TSwartz

As managing editor, Tami Swartz creates hospital safety, security, life safety, infection control, accreditation, patient safety, and nursing content using expert analysis and input.

AHAP Conference opportunities

The Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals (AHAP) is hosting its 6th Annual Conference May 10, 2012 – May 11, 2012 in Orlando, FL. It offers so many amazing opportunities to save money, get expert advice, and show off your hospital a bit. I should also note that if you’re one of the first 50 paid registrants you’ll receive a free full-day ticket to any Walt Disney World® Theme Park*! Download the online brochure to learn more.

So what is it and why am I talking about it? The 6th Annual AHAP Conference brings together survey professionals from across the country to discuss solutions and best practices to achieve continual survey readiness and compliance with ever-changing standards and regulations.

What are the opportunities?

  •  Accreditation Specialist Boot Camp.
  • Presentation of the first annual Accreditation Professional of the Year award
  • Unique roundtable discussion with representatives from HFAP, DNV, the American Heart Association, and The Joint Commission
  • Exciting new poster event featuring research and best practices from your peers. Find out how to submit a poster and save 50% on your registration.
  • Learn about:
    • Regulatory changes in 2012 and top RFIs: Staying ahead of The Joint Commission and CMS
    • What accreditation professionals need to know about Life Safety Code®
    • To certify or not to certify? Seeking The Joint Commission disease-specific certifications
    • Making the switch from The Joint Commission to DNV: One hospital’s experience with both surveys
    • Understanding tracer methodology and the survey process
    • A practical approach to policy management
    • Suicide Risk: Solutions to rapid assessment, Environment of Care, and documentation issues
    • Understanding hospital recognition programs for optimal cardiovascular and stroke care

Learn more.

*Offer ends March 8th.

Take our survey for a chance to win $100!

HCPro is asking for your help! To ensure that we meet your training products and services needs in 2012, please take a moment to respond to a short survey.

Are you in infection control? Take this survey.

Are you more facility safety and security (environment of care, emergency management, etc.)? Take this survey.

Involved in OSHA? Take this survey.

Complete a survey and be entered into a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate to HCMarketplace, to be spent on any HCPro product of your choice.

You gotta serve somebody… ‘cause you’ve got HOSPITAL-ity!

A few weeks ago,  I was reading “the nation’s newspaper” (USA TODAY, of course,) and I noticed an article on the front page (below the fold, but definitely front page) about a chain of boutique hotels that has invested in body language training for staff in order to more efficiently identify client needs–just by looking for non-verbal cues. Now, those of you who have been following this blog for a while may remember that my formative years in healthcare were firmly planted in the environmental services realm, so I’ve had what you might call a front row seat for the transformation of certain elements of healthcare from a purely service-oriented pursuit to one that embraces the concept of hospitality.

As safety professionals (and in recognition that sometimes our roles go way past safety), we’re always on the lookout for new trends and this article struck me as, maybe, just maybe, an indication of things to come in how are patients’ expectations may evolve (the evil part of me wants to say mutate, but we’ll leave that be for the moment) based on their experiences in other hospitality/service settings (Catch phrase idea: “Putting the hospital into hospitality.” feel free to make any use of it you might). Depending on the size and complexity of your organization, any number of you folks have responsibilities for front-line staff, be it support services folks, security officers, etc., the number of customer encounters can be rather extensive. I know from my own practice that those types of encounters can be very powerful indeed when it comes to managing the overall patient experience.

So, the question I have for you this day, boys and girls, is: How do we work toward a more customer-focused hospitality sensibility without completely negating our focus on regulatory compliance (basically enforcement of the rules)? I suspect, and perhaps you can confirm or debunk, that this is going to become an increasingly delicate balancing act. Can we still hold the ideals of safety while enhancing the patient experience? What say you, good readers?

Random acts of impenetrable prose

Could I have a volunteer from the audience?

Whilst working in the upper part of the Midwest, I found an interesting take on how one might gather volunteers to help out as “victims” when conducting an emergency response exercise that calls for said victims (“paper” patients are OK in a pinch, but isn’t it way more fun/realistic to have some flesh-and-blood types to run through the process?) In this particular area, high school students, in order to fulfill their obligations for graduation, are charged with participating in X number of community service hours during their (hopefully) four-year stint. If I may opine for a moment, I think the community service idea is way cool and with any luck, might bring back the whole “taking care of each other” mindset that seems to have fled screaming into the night. I see way too much trash dumped by roadsides, etc., to think that we are accelerating as a culture toward a positive destination . . . but I digress.

At any rate, a process was set up with the schools that allowed for participation in emergency exercises to count toward the community service requirement. How cool is that? I don’t know if you have such a program in your neck of the woods, but I think it’s definitely worth checking out. And if you’re already doing this, how come you didn’t share it with the group? Shame, shame, shame…

Cappiello named COO of Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program

We’d like to report some exciting news: former Joint Commission vice president and long-time advisor to HCPro’s own Briefings on The Joint Commission, Joseph L. Cappiello, has been named the chief operating officer for the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). Mr. Cappiello has been a great help to HCPro’s Association for Healthcare Accreditation Professionals (AHAP) and Briefings over the years. You also might know some of the books he’s authored, including The Chapter Leader’s Guide to Emergency Management. We’d like to congratulate Joe on his latest endeavor!

From the official press release:

Joseph L. Cappiello has been appointed new Chief Operating Officer of the Chicago-based Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP). HFAP, the nation’s oldest hospital accreditation organization, has been authorized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to accredit healthcare facilities for compliance with CMS standards since the beginning of Medicare in 1965.

Cappiello served for 10 years as Vice President of Field Operations at The Joint Commission and brings to HFAP a strong history of accreditation management experience. His role at HFAP will be to direct the nimble and educative approach to facility accreditation that exemplifies the organization, and to lead the continuing evolution of an accreditation process that meets the challenges of the complex healthcare environment. Mr. Cappiello will take his post October 3. He succeeds George A. Reuther, who is stepping down after 25 years of service

“As a smaller organization, HFAP can provide facilities with both a rigorous assessment and a resource for improvement, should they miss the mark,” said Michael J. Zarski, HFAP CEO. “We are thrilled to have Joe join our team, to help us further our personalized approach to the accreditation process. His caliber and experience will provide great value to HFAP and the facilities we work with.”

“HFAP is not just as an evaluator, but an educator,” said Cappiello, “which is what first drew me to the organization. It’s also light on its feet—quickly adaptable to the changing quality environment. And it brings a holistic survey process that creates a true partnership with the facilities it serves. I am pleased to be onboard.”

Cappiello was Vice President for Accreditation Field Operations at The Joint Commission from 1998 to 2008, directing key internal functions as well as the 500-member field surveyor cadre. Known as an innovative and dynamic leader, Cappiello reorganized the operational structure of accreditation operations and made dramatic improvements in the training and operational effectiveness of the surveyor cadre.

Spearheading initiatives on emergency management and disaster response, he led evaluation teams to New York City following the attacks of September 11, testified before Congress after Hurricane Katrina, and advised the governments of Israel and Australia on disaster preparedness. From 2008 to the present, Mr. Cappiello led his own consultancy to help healthcare facilities improve quality and maintain compliance with accreditation standards. He holds a BSN from the University of Rochester and an MA in Heath Facilities Management from Webster University.

The Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) is a non-profit, nationally recognized accreditation organization. It has been accrediting healthcare facilities for over 60 years and under Medicare since its inception. Its mission is to advance high-quality patient care and safety through objective application of recognized standards. More information on the program can be found at

Under Pressure – Positively Clean

In yet another dispatch from the regulatory survey landscape, one item I’ve noticed being cited during surveys are related to the surgical environment–maintenance of temperature and humidity, ensuring appropriate air exchange rates, and making sure that your HVAC systems are appropriately maintaining pressure relationships. The other concern in this realm is making sure that you have a planned response for those instances in which any of the these performance expectations cannot be met. Make sure that the end-users of the environment are clued in to those responses. Depending on where you are, the age of your building systems, etc., you may very well experience (or perhaps have already experienced) performance outside of design/expected parameters (i.e., how’s that climate change working out for your building?)

Minimally, the infection control implications can be far-reaching, and if not appropriately managed, can be devastating to your patients. Likewise, you need to keep a close eye on the pressure relationships between clean and dirty areas; a positively pressured decontamination area can play havoc with the environment in your sterile processing and supply areas. A positively pressured corridor in your surgical area  can have a deleterious effect on your OR procedure rooms.  (Notice I said “area” not “suite”– everyone knows there are no corridors in surgical suites.)

You know how complicated your building systems can be–it’s time to make sure that your end-users understand that when things are not right, we need to collaborate to ensure appropriate protection of our patients. Nobody wants to mess with the OR schedule, but as hospital-acquired infection occurrences venture ever closer to the “never event” it will take a big-time team effort to make sure that our operations (both figuratively and literally) are where they need to be.