Ep.13: How Becoming an Accredited Organization will Help you Build More Partnerships and Increase Referrals
Brett Ringold, VP of A Long Term Companion, and Gary Bachrach, Executive Director of Business Development of Home Care Services at the Joint Commission, discuss the importance of accreditation in post-acute care and how it can set businesses up for success with referrals and partnerships.
Linda Leekley (00:08):
Hi everyone, this is Linda Leekley, chief Clinical Officer from hcp.
Amanda Sternklar (00:12):
And I’m Amanda Sternklar, our Director of Marketing,
Linda Leekley (00:15):
And you’re listening to Vision, the podcast for leaders and forward thinkers in the care industry. Today we’re gonna discuss accreditation for home care agencies and how it can impact both operations and the quality of care. And to do that, we’re joined by Brett Ringold, vice President of a long-term companion, and Gary Bachrach, executive Director of Business Development Home Care Services at the Joint Commission.
Amanda Sternklar (00:41):
Brett is the vice president of a long-term companion, and he has over a decade of experience as a home care agency owner and operator. Today, almost half of a long-term companion’s. Caregivers have at least three years of tenure, and nearly one out of four caregivers have worked with a long-term companion for at least five years. Brett is also a member of the board of Directors for the Home Care Association of America and the Pennsylvania Home Care Association, and is also a member of HCPs customer Advisory Board.
Linda Leekley (01:11):
And Gary, as mentioned, is the Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest accrediting body and healthcare in a career spanning more than 30 years. He has health leadership roles in sales, business development, and customer facing operations for both public and private healthcare companies, all focused on improving patient outcomes. Gary currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of Hope, loves company, the only nonprofit in the US with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battling als. Thank you both for joining us.
Brett Ringold (01:51):
Thanks for having us. Thank you. We’re so excited.
Amanda Sternklar (01:56):
So before we dive in, I know agencies have a whole variety of different reasons for seeking out accreditation, but Brett, I think yours is pretty unique. Can you talk a little bit about what led you to seeking accreditation with the Joint Commission?
Brett Ringold (02:09):
Absolutely. So our agency, a long-term companion, we’re licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. And a few years back, the regulations in New Jersey changed so that all home care providers, which in New Jersey were called healthcare service firms, were required to become accredited. Our leadership team, at that time when the regulations were just announced, we had a conversation and a few meetings because we, we saw two options. We could either pursue accreditation or we could decide to stop serving clients in New Jersey, which at the time, they made up just less than 5% of our client. Census as a whole, New Jersey already had some of the highest standards of the country. They required nurses to perform assessments before initiating care and regularly every 60 days. And that’s even though we were strictly a personal care provider and not providing any skilled nursing services. But it was really quickly decided that since our agency, our philosophy is just to always continue to improve. We always wanna raise the bar and we wanna be a better version of ourselves tomorrow than we are today. We decided to go go forward with accreditation with Gusto, and it really is one of the most important and rewarding decisions we’ve ever made in our history at a long-term companion.
Linda Leekley (03:26):
That’s really impressive, Brett, that you did make that decision and didn’t take the the easy way out. Right. But you know, a lot of our listeners might associate accreditation more with clinicians, skilled home health, or even hospitals. They might be thinking that’s where that comes into play. So what advice would you give, Gary, maybe we can start with you, to non-medical care associations or organizations when they’re applying for accommodation?
Gary Bachrach (03:51):
And that’s a great question. It’s something we hear a lot, but quality and safety are vital to every organization, whether it be non-medical or medical. So getting accredited is a great way to see how you’re doing and learn new ways to improve. As Brett had mentioned. Another point is that non-medical is the fastest growing segment in home care. So in, in order to make sure that you’re keeping up with the competition and making sure that you’re taking the best care of your clients, you know, being accredited is a great way to measure and improve. It also gives you a competitive advantage over, you know, the other, the other organizations in your marketplace. And it clearly helps set a high bar for the quality and safety of your organization.
Linda Leekley (04:36):
Brett, do you wanna add anything to this one?
Brett Ringold (04:39):
Yeah, absolutely. We were no different before we decided to pursue the journey of accreditation, we thought of accreditation as mostly something that clinicians and other healthcare provider types in the care continuum outside of Hope Home Care achieved. And we were really impressed to learn that we were not alone. And I’m very happy to talk to agency operators all the time that now value and understand the importance of accreditation and for the Joint Commission and accrediting organizations for doing such a great job at raising awareness and partnering with agencies across the country. It could seem intimidating, you know, as, as an agency owner and operator who has not yet made that decision. It could seem pretty arduous, but I could just share from my experience that the goal of, of accreditation, just like you said, Gary, and the pillars are safety and quality. That’s what every successful healthcare organization should strive to achieve.
Brett Ringold (05:34):
And, and that’s something that accrediting bodies help providers do each and every day. You know, you could be worried that if you’re nonclinical, what if we have a nurse surveyor who comes in and they, they look down on us or they say we’re doing something wrong. It’s not a punitive process, it’s totally a collaborative process. They’re looking for ways that we could just improve the care each and every day that we’re providing to our, to our clients. And it’s like anything else that the, it, it involves effort, but anything that you put into it is repaid in spades. So that’s something that I think is important for organizations that are not yet accredited to know. And the other thing to understand is that it’s not a one-time thing. It’s not like you decide to pursue accreditation, you earn accreditation, and that’s it. You have standards that you have to commit to and achieve on an ongoing basis. And the Joint Commission and other accrediting bodies really support you in that ongoing effort. So it’s something that your clients and your employees are gonna be thankful and better off for.
Gary Bachrach (06:38):
Can, can I piggyback something that really important that Brett has said, which is that, you know, looking down on you if you’re on, if you’re providing personal care and support, so, you know, people may not realize this, but you know, the Joint Commission Accreditation manual has a separate section for personal care and support. So we don’t come there, you know, looking for, you know, for medical type of, of care being provided. We actually have a manual and standards that are set to personal care and support organizations. So we’re coming to really validate all the things that the caregivers are gonna be providing, not a clinical assessment. And the second point is, you mentioned non-punitive. Our goal is to be collaborative and to be educational mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so many times people come up to me at trade shows and conferences and they say, oh, I just had my, my Joint commission survey, the surveyor was so amazing, they taught me so much. And that that’s, that’s about my proudest moment o of being part of the, this organization and being, you know, someone that’s looking out for the, the care in the home care in the home care world is that we’re helping them get better. So
Amanda Sternklar (07:48):
Absolutely. Going back to something, Gary, you said a little bit earlier, you were talking about accreditation as a proof of quality, especially to other organizations. And as we were prepping for this call, Brett, you mentioned that accreditation completely changed how referral sources approached you. Can you talk a little bit about what referrals were like before becoming accredited versus what it’s like now?
Brett Ringold (08:11):
Yeah, absolutely. So before we became accredited by, with the Joint Commission in their home care program, we were already receiving referrals from local physicians, nurses, social workers, discharge planners, at a number of different healthcare systems in the area. Actually, back in 2010, when my mother, Michelle founded our agency, one of our very first clients was referred from a physician. I have Crohn’s Disease and my gis, one of his partners in his practice, his father-in-law was in Native care. So one of our very first clients was for this individual whose daughter is a physician, son-in-law is a physician. And we worked with that, that gentleman for years and years. And his son-in-law and daughter became some of our best referral sources just because they saw the care that we were providing for their family. But there were still a handful of local healthcare systems that we didn’t have relationships with.
Brett Ringold (09:10):
Very early on in the pandemic, in the early days of Covid, we started receiving calls from a number of these hospitals who had never referred to us before. And we would ask them, you know, what, how did you hear of us? Why are you calling us today? You know, obviously every hospital at that time was trying to discharge patients. They needed beds to make room for patients coming in with Covid 19, but they looked on quality check.org on the Joint Commission’s website and saw that we were an accredited home care provider in their area. They knew about our comprehensive infection control and other quality management processes and standards that we have to commit to by being in an accredited organization. And, you know, in those early days, I don’t care if you’re an independent agency like ours or a, a huge national healthcare system, nobody was prepared for Covid 19, and we were not the exception. But having already gone through the accreditation process, having infection control, emergency management, all of these different quality standards that we didn’t have to train our team on for the first time really was so impactful that we weren’t going through this in the, in the very early days of the pandemic. So having that accreditation, it really opened up doors and relationships to other healthcare providers that we had never had in the 10 years preceding that.
Amanda Sternklar (10:30):
That’s fantastic. Gary, is this something that’s, that’s pretty typical with the other organizations you’ve worked with?
Gary Bachrach (10:37):
So, yeah, and I’m glad you spoke to that, but, but typically discharge planners give preferential referrals to organizations who are joint Commission accredited. One of the reasons is so many hospitals are joint commission accredited, probably over 90% of the hospital. So it’s something they’re very familiar with. And I think there’s a comfort knowing that, you know, that, that the home agent, the home care agency is his joint commission accredited, especially because we credit every segment. So we’re not just in home care, we’re in hospital, we’re in laboratory, ambulatory, you know, nursing care and assisted living centers as well. So th those are, are factors that make the discharge planner really comfortable knowing that they’re gonna get that same continuity of standards and care. I
Amanda Sternklar (11:23):
Know, Brett, something you mentioned before was the, the ability to kind of feel like you were speaking the same language, you know, implementing some of the same surveys that are be or other tools that are being used in those settings within your agency.
Brett Ringold (11:35):
Absolutely. Yeah, that was so important for us.
Linda Leekley (11:41):
You know, we’ve talked about accreditation, that it can be a huge step in advancing the professionalism of home care, you know, in the eyes of the public especially. So Gary, can can you share more about some of the identified results that, that you’ve seen with home care?
Gary Bachrach (11:57):
Sure. That, again, you know, a study was conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology information that showed consistently consistent evidence that accreditation programs improve process of care provided by healthcare providers. So, you know, we can demonstrate compliance with regulations, so just, just being measured says something I’m willing to be measured that is raising the, the, the awareness of, of standards and professionalism. You know, we improve the quality of patient care by, by following that patient. We have a tracer, a methodology. We follow a patient from beginning to end to see the level of care that’s being provided. We establish, we help establish standards and processes and, and we increase organizational sustainability. And again, we also improve caregiver satisfaction because if they know that they’re being, you know, they’re being measured, but also taught the right way to do things, they feel better about the organization that they’re with. And it does lead to better retention for organizations that make the commitment to their employees by being accredited.
Amanda Sternklar (13:05):
Kind of a follow up, do you see accreditation being a piece of the puzzle in helping to continue to show the value of post-acute and at-home care that, I know Brett already talked about the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic and, and how much of an impact that had on home-based care. So where do you see accreditation fitting into that kind of continuing?
Gary Bachrach (13:32):
So, well, first of all, again, studies show that joint commission accredited organizations perform better than non-accredited organizations. And that’s based on all measures, whether it be medical or, or non-medical. But also as far as the, the continuum of care, again, because of our methodologies, our safer methodology, for example, which is, you know, the survey analysis for evaluating risk, because we do that, use that same methodology in all the different settings, whether it be nursing care, assisted living, some people go from nursing care to, you know, to home care, home care, to nursing care, hospital to rehab center to home, all of those, because we use that same methodology to identify the risk and point those out to the organizations that’s gonna help that continuum of care. It’s the same across all, you know, obviously you’re looking for different things in a laboratory than you are, you know, in a home care setting, but it’s the same, the same set of, of eyes looking at, at the, the measures.
Amanda Sternklar (14:34):
Right. I know you spoke to the beginning of, of the, of the Covid 19 pandemic, but is that something that you’ve seen continue throughout the last few years?
Brett Ringold (14:43):
Absolutely, yeah. I I think you mentioned the word momentum and, and that’s something that we have to keep going. You know, during the pandemic, our caregivers were seen and recognized as heroes. And for those of us already in the home care industry, we’ve known that for years. But now it seems as though the rest of the healthcare world and the rest of the world at large is really made aware of this. And, you know, a common gross misconception is non-medical is non-skilled. That is totally not true. Our caregivers are so skilled, they are amazing in the work that they do in caring for our clients each and every day. And so hopefully non-medical home care is recognized as skilled home care. And, and we have to just continue this, you know, we’re really at a, a real, a very important moment in our industry’s history where home care is recognized, it’s valued, and we really have a spotlight on, on what we’re doing each and every day.
Brett Ringold (15:42):
And we have to keep carrying this forward. And so, how I believe accreditation fits into this puzzle, this piece of the puzzle is that the Joint commission and other accrediting bodies, they support home care agencies to provide the highest level of care in every community nationwide. And by implementing high standards that everybody is, is accountable for, by using data, by delivering safe and quality care to our stakeholders and by stakeholders, I include the clients that we serve and the employees who are providing the care to those clients. We’re gonna continue to, to mature, to be more professional as an industry. And the rest of the care continuum is going to continue to just recognize how valuable home care is. And yeah, I think it’s something that we’re, we’re really doing an amazing job of as agency operators across the country at this moment.
Gary Bachrach (16:38):
Yeah. If I could add one thing of the momentum, you know, how to keep the momentum going. So, you know, accreditation has a significant impact on any organization in a positive way from a brand, you know, from their reputation, from their image, from their quality, improving, you know, con continuous improvement, all those things will, will allow the momentum to continue as each of these organizations raise the level of their, of what they deliver to, to people at home who need the care.
Brett Ringold (17:09):
Yeah. And if I may piggyback again on what, what you’re, what you discussed, you know, home care, it’s not regulated on a federal level. It’s, it’s state by state. There are, I believe 20 states currently that don’t even require licensure. So if home care agencies were to pursue accreditation on a wider scale, we’re all going to have those same set of standards that we’re, we’re adhering to. And Amanda, you you spoke on my involvement with the Home Care Association of America, that’s one of our core philosophies. The core pillars is the standardization of home care is the professionalization of home care. And by working with accrediting entities to improve your care, collecting, evaluating, using data to demonstrate the value of care, which is another H C A O A pillar, I think we’re moving in the right direction.
Gary Bachrach (17:57):
A and by the way, we, we really partner with Home Care Association of America. We work very closely with the organization, with its fantastic leader, Vicki Hoke. And we are all in support of, you know, creating a national standard of care in those states that don’t have a requirement to, to open the doors and take care of people. So we, we really support Brett, what Brett’s doing in his and, and the Home Care Association of America.
Linda Leekley (18:26):
Great. Great points both of you. I, I couldn’t agree more back to the beginning of the conversation. I hate the term unskilled. We just need to,
Gary Bachrach (18:37):
And by the way, by the way, I I, now, if anybody says non-skilled, and I hate correcting people because you know, you’re, you’re meeting somebody, you’re talking to somebody, and the last thing you wanna do is be, you know, the teacher going, wa wa wa <laugh>. But I always say, you know, you mean non-medical and because it is skilled, it is a skill and it’s correct. So needed. And it, it’s, it’s, it’s quite frankly insulting to, to call them non-skilled. So non-medical, very important. Very important.
Linda Leekley (19:09):
I mean, if you just think about it, if, if it was your loved one, would you want to think of someone non-medical or non-skilled coming into care? Correct.
Gary Bachrach (19:18):
Linda Leekley (19:21):
That way it’s an easy choice. Right? <Laugh>,
Amanda Sternklar (19:23):
<Laugh>, Fred, I particularly like the philosophy behind you, how you refer to your caregiver employees. If you can, don’t mind sharing that really quickly before we jump back into the accreditation conversation.
Brett Ringold (19:35):
Absolutely. So we have for many, many years what we, we refer to our employees as professional caregivers. Many agencies say caregivers, which is great, we are caregivers, but you could be a non-professional caregiver caring for a loved one. The employees who work with agencies across the country, they’re highly skilled, highly trained. So we think that by, by calling ’em what they really are professionals, it’s what’s right. And it’s just the way to show our appreciate and respect for them.
Linda Leekley (20:07):
We completely agree. We are, we are transitioning ourselves from using caregiver to care professionals. So we, we completely agree. You know, and, and back to our talk about the continuum of care and you know, that providers are making it their goal to expand into more sectors of post-acute care. So Brett, how has the experience of becoming accredited helped you to, to work more holistically across the, the care continuum?
Brett Ringold (20:35):
Sure. No, that’s another great question. Many agencies, they are providing other services other than personal care services. But I guess it’s, it’s important to recognize just the scale of the healthcare system in the United States. You know, I think it’s 18% of the G D P is spent on healthcare, over 4 trillion and home care, including pt, ot, registered nurse at-home services. I think that makes up 140 billion of those 4 trillion in spending every year. So home care is extremely important, but it’s still a very relatively small piece of the larger healthcare system as a whole in our country. And there are a lot of stakeholders. You have hospitals and large healthcare systems, you have insurance companies and other payers like our government. And in order for healthcare to really work well in our country and provide care to everybody, young and old providers of all types must work together.
Brett Ringold (21:34):
And home care providers are just one piece of the larger puzzle. If you’re an agency who also provides pt, OT of speech pathology, registered nursing at home, geriatric management, that’s a wonderful thing. Our agency is strictly a personal care agency. We recognize that our core competence, what we really believe that we’re great in and are trying to do eat better each and every day is providing personal care services. So we like to think of ourselves as one piece of the puzzle. We partner with other agencies because many of our clients, they also receive pt, ot, other services that we don’t provide. So we’ll work in conjunction with other providers. And since, as I alluded to before, since earning accreditation through the joint commission, we’ve had other accredited, accredited organizations, they might not provide home care or maybe they do, but at the time they can’t deliver care to that individual at that present moment and they’re gonna refer to us. So we are forming partnerships with organizations each and every day across the care continuum. And it’s something that we’re really excited to be able to do
Gary Bachrach (22:43):
That. That’s a great point, Brett, cuz I, I was gonna mention that this, these strategic partnerships are, are more happening more and more every day where a home health agency has a strategic partnership and will refer their personal care clients or somebody’s receiving personal care support at home, and then they, they take a term for the worst and they need medical care. So now they need to reach out and who are they gonna call? Someone they have a strategic partnership with that is providing home health. Sometimes same thing happens with hospice care, you know, sadly is, you know, they’re in the home, the patient’s taking the turn for the worst and hospice care is needed. Those partnerships, you know, across, you know, accredited organizations make it easier for you to say, I feel comfortable calling Brett’s organization because he’s, you know, he’s got the same level of accreditation that I do and, and I know that the standards are gonna be there and the care is gonna be gonna be provided.
Gary Bachrach (23:39):
And, and one other thing, by, by 2040, 80 million people are gonna be 65 and older, which, you know, clearly means that more and more people are going to need care. And the more care we can provide at home, not only the better, you know, not only is it better for the patient’s morale and recovery and just feeling better, you know, being at home, the cost, the cost is gonna be significantly less. You know, the cost of a hospitalization or rehospitalization is astronomical to our, you know, to our, our economy. So the more care we can provide at home and do it well, the better for everyone from the patient to the family to our economy.
Brett Ringold (24:25):
Linda Leekley (24:26):
Amen to that. <Laugh>, you know, we’ve been talking about the fact that that accreditation, it helps the post-acute care industry stand out, but how do accreditation and advocacy go hand in hand? And what responsibilities do providers have to really showcase the, the qualitative value of their care?
Brett Ringold (24:46):
Linda Leekley (24:47):
Start one? Go for it guys. Go.
Brett Ringold (24:50):
Ready. Gary <laugh>?
Gary Bachrach (24:52):
No, what I was gonna say is a, as an accrediting body, we, we take our advocacy very seriously. So as I mentioned before, we partner with Home Care Association of America. We also partner with, you know, N H P C O nac. So, and, and many, many state home care associations to promote advocacy, raise awareness, raise quality and safety in the home care industry. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, we also have a home care advisory board that includes leaders from these above mentioned, you know, associations that I had mentioned where we all get together and we talk about what’s needed in the home health section, what’s needed in the hospice world, what’s needed in personal care and support. And then we work with the leaders of, you know, of, of H C A O A, et cetera, to, to help them. We also have programs focused on state payer and government relations.
Gary Bachrach (25:45):
So we’re advocating for the players in the space to get better reimbursements, to get better recognition, to make sure that the services are provided are being reimbursed at a good rate so that, you know, Brett’s organization can, can be profitable because you, you no, no money, no mission. So we do a lot to help support the, you know, to help support the industry. And one last thing is, we, we now have a new focus on health equity to advocate for everyone receiving equal care. So those are the things that, that we are doing as an organization and we’re really proud of that and it, it makes us feel like we are, are doing our best to help the home care industry.
Brett Ringold (26:27):
Yeah, I, I love and appreciate everything that your organization is doing for health equity, for advocacy across the board. And, and Linda, I I believe your question was in regards to advocacy and accreditation, why are they so important right now in home care? An advocacy has always been important, but it’s never been more so important than right now. I was just yesterday in Harrisburg for Pennsylvania Home Care Association’s advocacy day, and we had agency operators from all over the state who gathered in Harrisburg our, our capital in Pennsylvania to meet with their legislators. And in late March, I was in DC for Home Care Association of America’s Advocacy Day. And there were providers from all corners of the country that showed up in numbers and had amazing meters with their representatives, with their congress people. And what was most impressive to me, probably other than the fact that there were just so many passionate, enthusiastic, and in inspiring agency operators from all over the world or all over the country.
Brett Ringold (27:32):
But what really also impressed me was that everyone we spoke with, whether it was a congressperson, a senator, a legislative aid, they knew about home care, they knew about the value of home care and many of them even had personal stories to how home care has touched their families. And we have to get involved as industry leaders, as agency leaders get involved with their professional associations, home Care Association of America, your state advocations that are working on your behalf to do exactly what you, you alluded to before, Gary. And these personal stories that we share when we meet with legislators are, are so important. That’s really what, what hammers home and everyone could relate to. But in the end of the day, a lot of our legislators, they also have to be shown numbers quantitatively and qualitatively. They have to see why home care is valuable. So by being able to use data show how home care decreases, hospitalizations, readmission rates, and all of the things that we’re measuring that the Joint Commission and accrediting bodies are focused on focusing on and helping agencies approve across the country. It’s just such an important partnership.
Speaker 5 (28:41):
<Laugh> powerful stuff.
Linda Leekley (28:43):
<Laugh>. But you know, what image came to my mind, funnily enough as you were speaking, is, is dirty dancing. Nobody puts baby in the corner.
Speaker 5 (28:52):
I love that
Linda Leekley (28:55):
Has come outta the corner.
Speaker 5 (28:57):
Brett Ringold (28:58):
I love that.
Amanda Sternklar (29:01):
So I know we’ve been talking about kind of some, some bigger nationwide topics. I do wanna bring it, bring it back to a lot of our listeners today might be thinking that they’re already spread too thin when it comes to running a business because, you know, we’ve, we’ve got plenty of spare time just hanging around in in post-acute in general. So what, what would you say to providers who feel like they don’t have enough time to do all of this, who don’t have enough time to go through the accreditation process or apply for other certifications or recognitions?
Brett Ringold (29:34):
Gary, would you like to start or do you want me to to go first? You can go first. All right. Perfect. <laugh>, no, Amanda, what you said is spot on. Agency operators, whether you’re a new agency operator or whether you’re a seasoned veteran, you feel like a firefighter in a lot of ways. You have so many different things on your plate, so many things that you’re triaging and you’re really concentrating on whatever is the most important matter at the moment. And to stop and think about accreditation is, is pretty overwhelming. It could seem daunting, but I could tell you from personal experience what what pursuing accreditation does is it improves your operations and it allows you to focus on what you do wonderfully. One example I’ll share is that from our, our first initial survey, our nurse surveyor told us about the mock 10 fall risk assessment Before accreditation, we were already doing our own fall risk assessments.
Brett Ringold (30:25):
We had our own process of doing this, but the mock 10 is really the gold standard and it’s something that we implemented immediately and it has really been a game changer. So we’re able to tap into the joint commission’s expertise, experience, and resources that really allow us to focus on the other aspects of our operations and do what we do well and continue to do what we do well. You really have to invest initially in the effort, but know that you don’t have to reinvest the reinvent the wheel, right? A lot of these processes, a lot of these forms, a lot of these standards, they’re already out there and as an operator triaging 25 different things. You might not be aware of it or you might not have time to implement it, but by working with the joint commission, working with an accrediting body, they’re going to introduce you to the best way of doing things and you’re gonna be able to lean on them, not just before you’re accredited, but for in, in your, in your entire everyday operations of your business.
Brett Ringold (31:25):
And it kind of draws a comparison to when we were doing training. We used to do our own trainings in-house. We would create our own content, our caregivers would really like that. And then we partnered with HCP training and it was like night and day. You know, we’re not professional trainers, we’re very good at home care, we’re great home care operators, but we’re not trainers. So I think that every successful operator or organization you have to be true with yourself. You have to know your core competencies and whatever really isn’t in your wheelhouse. Partner with outside professional organizations that are, allow you to just be the best version of yourself that you could be every day.
Amanda Sternklar (32:02):
Absolutely. Use the phrase slow down to speed up a lot here. And that seems like it, it applies really, really neatly in this circumstance where you need to take the time to get accredited, but then there’s so many resources that you don’t have to recreate yourself.
Brett Ringold (32:17):
I love that.
Gary Bachrach (32:19):
Yeah. And, and I would say anything worth doing is worth doing the best you can. I mean, who, who starts out something and says, I’d like to just be average today, <laugh>. I mean, you certainly want to, you want to do your best. And, and by being, by getting yourself accredited, you’re preparing your organization to be the best it can be. So if you are running a home care agency, it’s almost like how could you afford to not want to take these steps to make sure that your organization is operating as well as it can? So in addition to improved quality, we talked about improved quality, improved safety, improved outcomes, you know, brand recognition in addition to all of those things. You know, the Joint Commission had a study done by a third party company called Return on Investment Institute. And they looked at the costs and the benefits to many of our accredited organizations, and it was a blind study, but they came back with a return on investment of 453% of what an organization spends.
Gary Bachrach (33:22):
So if someone’s saying, I don’t have the money, I can’t afford to do this, you actually can’t afford to not do it, and it pays for itself. So on top of, you know, improving all those aspects of your organization and providing the best care possible and standing out in your community as a leader, you’re also gonna make money back. So I think it does both. It’s, it’s the, I’m taking care of people better, I’m also taking care of my business. So I think, I think those are, are, are two of the most important reasons to, to do this.
Linda Leekley (33:55):
I have a a couple of follow up questions. One is, you know, some of our listeners might be thinking, well, my organization is so small, I’m just starting out, or, you know, I’ve only been doing it six months. And is there an appropriate size or time when accreditation is best to go after? What, what are your thoughts on that, Carrie?
Gary Bachrach (34:16):
So it really depends, you know, it depends on what your goals are and sometimes, you know, if you open an agency today, I wouldn’t say try to get accredited by Friday, but what are your, what are your plans, <laugh>? What are your plans and where do you want to be? And by implementing it earlier than later, it’s actually easier. So if you have a staff of five, 10 or 20, it’s a lot easier to get them in step than it is when you’re already at 50 or 100 or 150. So I, I think it’s, you know, it’s a process that is easier in the beginning than, you know, it, it’s like having a foundation. If you have that strong foundation, your organization’s gonna grow more effectively. If you don’t have the foundation, you might get up to the third floor of your building and then it collapses.
Linda Leekley (35:05):
Good point. And Brett, you know, when I was, you know, a new nurse working in the hospital, the two words that would put fear in any of us was were joint commission, right? <Laugh>, <laugh>, they’re here. <Laugh>. So a and that, you know, that sort of goes back to that idea that that accreditation is somehow punitive. But, but I was wondering how your employees reacted. Did any of them have those fears and how did you quell them? And can you speak about that a little bit?
Brett Ringold (35:38):
That’s a great question. I’d say leading up to our initial survey, there was a bit of fear. We were, we were excited, but, but anticipating the, the initial survey without really knowing what to expect. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Now, we recently had our first full revey and we went into it completely differently having had that initial experience, knowing that it is not punitive, that it’s collaborative, that we left after having that nurse surveyor for initial survey there with us in our office, spending the time to go over our policies, procedures, meet with our amazing professional caregivers in the field and our patients, having that exit interview and then that follow up throughout, we just were able to improve our operations immeasurably. So we saw the value immediately from having that survey so that the subsequent surveys were, were, of course, you’re, you’re never, not a little bit on eggshells, but we were really more welcoming it and not scared, not worried. I’d say that we have heard from other operators and other healthcare professionals the same thing. The joint commission’s coming, we all have to get ready. One thing is you, you don’t prepare for an for a survey or accreditation at a moment. You have to be doing it on an everyday basis. It’s continuous compliance. It’s always setting and living up to those standards that you have in place. So if the whole time you’re doing what we, what we’re supposed to be doing, there’s really nothing to worry about. So that’s
Linda Leekley (37:06):
Exactly right. Yeah. Yeah. I remember as a clinical educator at a home health agency, I would get asked, well how do I prepare for the survey? Same thing. It’s like, pretend you’re being observed every single day. <Laugh>
Brett Ringold (37:19):
Really do all the right things. Do the right things
Linda Leekley (37:22):
Every day, every single day, and no piece of cake. Right? Yeah. Well, you know, thank you both so much. This is such valuable information for our audience. A fascinating discussion. I’m sure we could talk for hours about it. Brett and Gary, thank you both for sharing your time and your wisdom with us. And Amanda do you wanna tell folks the way they can find our podcast?
Amanda Sternklar (37:45):
Absolutely. So if you have a story that you would like to share on vision, you can find our guest submission [email protected] slash podcast. While you’re there, you can also listen to past episodes of Vision and you can find those episodes as well on any of your favorite podcast listening platforms. Brett, if folks have questions about, you know, your experience with the accreditation process or just for you in general, where’s the best place for folks to find you online?
Brett Ringold (38:11):
So you could always find me online. The best way is by email, check my email constantly. So Brett, b r e t t at a long-term companion all one word.com. And I’m here, I’m an open book and I, I think we’re gonna have a lot of listeners that will be reaching out and I’m anticipating that and I’m excited to help them with any questions they might have.
Amanda Sternklar (38:32):
That’s awesome. Thank you.
Gary Bachrach (38:34):
Brett Ringold (38:34):
Amanda Sternklar (38:35):
Gary. And if folks have questions about the joint commission and your accreditation process, where’s the best place for them to reach you?
Gary Bachrach (38:41):
Well, at Brett says, I live with my, my phone that has my email, which will be G B A C H R A C [email protected]. And always with me, I respond really quickly, don’t I Brett, you do Always <laugh>. So this, remember,
Linda Leekley (38:59):
Remember it’s dot org, right? Yeah.
Gary Bachrach (39:02):
So thank you so much. This has been so much fun. I really enjoyed spending some time with you all and thank you so much for inviting me.
Amanda Sternklar (39:09):
Thank you. And Linda, if folks have any questions about the podcast, I’d like to share their story or just wanna talk to you about anything we’ve talked about today. Maybe ask some questions about a care professional professionalism, <laugh>, where’s the best place for them to reach ya?
Linda Leekley (39:24):
I’m happy to talk to anybody anytime in this business for sure. Linkedin is probably the best place, Linda, l e e k l e y. And I’ll message back right away
Amanda Sternklar (39:35):
And LinkedIn is the best place for me as well. If you have any questions about anything we’ve talked about here, I’m on LinkedIn as Amanda Stern Clark, s t e r n k l a r. Thank you again everyone, so much for joining us. We’ll talk to you in a couple weeks. Thanks
Gary Bachrach (39:49):
So much. Have a great day. You too. Bye.
Speaker 6 (39:52):
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