WMHS Environmental Services Department celebrates milestone in patient satisfaction survey
Over the last several years, the Western Maryland Health System Environmental Services Department has worked hard to increase staff engagement, morale and efficiency.
As a result, a milestone was recently achieved that few hospitals the size of the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center can boast about – a score of 80.1 on the yearly EVS HCAHPS, or the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, which is a patient satisfaction survey required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for all hospitals in the United States.
“We’ve raised the bar on our HCAHPS every year over the last four years,” said Nick DeArcangelis, Director of EVS. “We’ve set a new record every year,” DeArcangelis said. “We scored 80.1 this year, which is amazing. Eighty is a milestone for us because of the size of the hospital we are. Often, scores of 80 and higher are reached by hospitals with smaller bed counts.”
DeArcangelis attributes that success to a few factors. “One is our processes,” he said. “We have good training and great management. Our managers follow up with our employees to find out what they need to do their jobs.” That has resulted in the purchasing of new equipment that uses technology to provide more efficient work. “We have a lot more equipment we can ride instead of push. That makes a big difference. Our management has not been shy in providing us with what we feel we need to do a good job,” he added.
Employee recognition is also a primary focus. “We focus on keeping our staff happy and engaged,” DeArcangelis said. “This includes things like special monthly and quarterly meals with our staff.”
Communicating with staff members in the form of meetings and Top Five Board interaction has greatly increased the level of engagement.
“These meetings, which are held both internally and with the hospital’s nursing staff will continue to help us improve,” DeArcangelis said. “We are looking at things now that will make our HCAHPS even better. We have to figure out where our shortfalls are. We are trying to put the very best people in the areas where we have dipped in the past and then our other employees will learn from them. That is very critical. The beautiful thing is how our staff has embraced what we do. They know their purpose for WMHS.”
Beyond the hard work of the staff, DeArcangelis gives much of the credit for his department’s success to Kevin Turley, WMHS Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer. “Kevin is very instrumental and extremely active in our department,” DeArcangelis said. “He comes here a lot to talk to our staff. He comes to our functions. That makes our staff more aware of what is going on. When you have a Vice President who is constantly engaged, it makes a big difference for your staff. They see that he cares what is going on.”
“It is a privilege to work with such a great group of people,” Turley said. “ They have embraced and excelled with our performance excellence journey and have provided great results. Most importantly, our patients are benefiting. We are here to serve them. I could not be more proud of our EVS team.”
All of this teamwork helps push the EVS team forward, hopefully toward what DeArcangelis calls the next level. “We want to achieve a score of 90 on our HCAHPS survey results,” he said. “That’s a hard level to achieve in this business. To get there it’s going to be a hard journey. It’s going to take a lot of dedication on everybody’s part.”
Despite the work ahead to achieve the EVS Department’s next plateau, DeArcangelis is constantly overjoyed by the work of the team he oversees. “I am proud about where I work,” he said. “I love the people I work with. It’s important to remember, however, that you are only as good as the work you’ve done today. Tomorrow you have to prove yourself all over again.”