Guest Columns

Getting back to basics at Revera

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Dee Rossetti
Dee Rossetti

These are challenging times for skilled nursing care providers. As a result of sequestration cuts, Medicare provider payments were cut by 2% beginning April 1, 2013 as part of the spending reductions required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Skilled nursing providers are being asked to do more with less while continuing to provide the same level of quality care they always have, even when disposable monies are not always available for upgrades and cutting-edge technologies. Couple that with the need for specialty programming, a congested marketplace, and both employee and patient satisfaction, and skilled nursing providers have a lot of challenges to overcome.

Revera Nursing and Rehab, a chain of 29 skilled nursing and rehab centers, has not been immune to the varying obstacles in the skilled nursing field. Taking a hard look at what “more” the organization can do to continue to provide exceptional patient care in a challenged marketplace, the company has instituted a ‘back to basics' mantra that focuses on the three things that are the backbone of the organization's commitment to quality senior care: Adherence to the company's mission and vision proposition, customer service and employee engagement.

Living the Revera Mission and Vision

The mission of Revera is to enhance lives with choices in community living, warm hospitality and compassionate care. This mission is the backbone of what skilled nursing providers do, but it can be easy to forget. Still, we live the company's mission each time a Revera employee shows up to work and completes the trifecta in achieving quality senior care in an ever-changing climate.

Recently, the company took things a step further, and as a result of ongoing discussions and peer groups, the company introduced its vision, which is to “celebrate the ageless spirit of people through service and innovation.”

Revera has embraced the company's mission and vision statements and has placed a great deal of value and publicity in them; visit any one of our centers, or corporate office, and you will see the Revera mission and vision posters proudly displayed. While it might go without saying that our role as healthcare providers is to provide a setting with “warm hospitality” and “compassionate care,” it can be easy to lose sight of these values in the everyday grind. Even the company's vision celebrates life and more importantly, the spirit of the patients we care for each day. By celebrating the “ageless spirit” of our patients through our service, we are providing them with an exceptional care experience.

Holding employees accountable to the mission and vision and prompting our staff to live the Revera values every day, allows Revera employees to take ownership of their positions and of the people they care for, in turn, providing the exceptional customer service our patients have come to expect.

Aiming to be Excellent: A Customer Service Program

Revera Nursing and Rehab is a firm believer in providing exceptional customer service to its patients and their families: Customer service is the backbone of any business and sets the bar for the company's success. Much like with a hotel stay or a meal at a restaurant, satisfied customers keep coming back, or they choose to share their positive reviews with others, which attracts more business. While the goal of our skilled nursing and rehab centers is to have patients return home safely and within the parameters of their care plan, Revera has enjoyed the success that comes from numerous positive referrals from return clients. 

At the end of the day, the seniors that we care for want to stay well, and they want to be valued. Happiness with the quality of their care plays a big part in the equation.

And how does Revera keep its patients happy? The company has instituted a customer service campaign known as “Aim to be Excellent” and has partnered with a third-party vendor, My InnerView, which handles the patient satisfaction survey process. The goal of the “Aim to be Excellent” program was born of the notion that every patient that walks through the doors of a Revera center has the right to an “excellent” stay, and all staff must be equipped to offer patients an exceptional customer service experience at all times.

Each center is armed with an “Aim to be Excellent” kit. The posters, flyers and brochures that explain the program are typically placed in the lobby of each center, immediately letting visitors know that the center is committed to excellence. Staff is well-versed in the program and is continually asking for feedback during a patient's stay in order to access their satisfaction level. Through the inception of the ‘Aim to be Excellent' campaign, the centers have committed themselves to providing excellent customer service on a daily basis, and encourage patients to fill out “excellent” on their satisfaction surveys. And if a patient felt that his or her stay was not excellent, our staff takes a proactive approach, asking the patient for direct feedback so the problem can be resolved.

The ‘Aim to be Excellent' program ties directly into the patient satisfaction survey process for our Revera centers. The company uses its vendor to send surveys out to discharged patients on a bi-weekly basis. We value the feedback we receive on our patients' experiences at our centers, and we use their recommendations to make changes to our programming and quality of care. Each month, our centers receive an overview of their patient satisfaction scores. This is the chance for teams to develop concrete plans and campaigns to improve their scores or to ensure consistency from month to month. Revera has also adopted a customer service call representative that comes in once a week to call all discharged patients to let them know that a survey is on its way; this final touch-point allows us one final opportunity to connect with our patients and to leave them with a positive, lasting impression of their stay.

Revera hasn't stopped there. The organization is always looking for new ways to connect with seniors and provide them with unique and informative educational outlets. The company recently unveiled its catalogue of “Senior Snippets.” No more than two and half minutes in length, these short videos provide useful tips for seniors, ranging from tips for a healthy diet and exercise, to how to cope with stress and retirement as we age. These videos can be found on the Revera Health Systems' YouTube channel. Through these videos, a Facebook page for each one of our 29 centers and center-specific websites that are regularly updated, Revera has pushed the envelope to offer its patients unique outlets for customer satisfaction and feedback.

Engaging Employees

An engaged employee is a happy employee. Yet, according to a recent study by Dale Carnegie, the harsh reality is 71% of employees are not engaged in their jobs. 

Gone is the pen and paper review for many employees; the company has moved to a web-based system (PeopleFluent) to capture a majority of its employee data. Employees are encouraged to use the system throughout the year to track their progress and accomplishments (there is even an option for staff members to be rewarded for their work) and the company itself has taken the pledge to increase its employee engagement score by the end of the year.

Revera hopes that in the near future all employees will have access to the PeopleFluent software.

So What's It All Mean?

Healthcare, and more specifically, skilled nursing care, is at a delicate turning point. Government cuts will continue, and providers will continually be tasked with how to do more with less, all while looking to out-perform and out-service their competitors. While there is no “solution” to combat these changes, Revera Nursing and Rehab has taken a ‘back to basics' stance; exceptional customer service, an engaged workforce and an adherence to the company's mission have allowed us to continue to expand our clinical capabilities portfolio, and provide our patients with the care, respect and positive outcomes they deserve, despite today's ever-changing climate.

Dee Rossetti is the vice president of human resources at Revera Nursing & Rehab.

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