Harmony Healthcare Blog

2017 AHCA Provider Lounge Series: Prioritizing in a Sea of Regulatory Change

Posted by Kris Mastrangelo on Tue, Dec 26, 2017

Edited by Kris Mastrangelo


Compliance • Audits/Analysis • Reimbursement/Regulatory • Education/Efficiency

Interview with Deb Fournier, Chief Operations Officer at Maine Veterans Homes

Kris Mastrangelo, President of Harmony Healthcare International (HHI) interviews Deb Fournier, Chief Operations Officer at Maine Veterans Homes, in the 2017 AHCA Provider Lounge.  Deb discusses navigating through the new Requirements of Participation.  Prioritization is the key to maintaining award-winning levels of excellence throughout their six facilities.   (Audio transcription below).



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Transcribed Audio:

Kris Mastrangelo: Good afternoon and welcome to the 68th Annual AHCA/NCAL Convention. Today we're blessed to have Deb Fournier, COO of Maine Veterans Homes in Maine.

Deb Fournier: Hi Kris.

Kris: Hi. How are you?

Deb: Very well. Thank you for having me.

Kris: We're so grateful. We have a lot to talk about and I'm super excited to hear what you have to say on a number of questions but specifically, let's just start with what's keeping you up at night

Deb: That is a fabulous question and really right now the climate is all about change and so what's keeping me up is understanding what's required with the new Requirements of Participation and the Emergency Operations Preparedness plans. Understanding those rules, the guidance and then really how do I leverage the resources in my organization to bring the organization into compliance. I think that's keeping me up at night. The other area that is concerning to me is really how do I keep my key leaders during this sea of change. It's a very intense time for them. They're still trying to operate their facilities and do the right thing for the residents at the time where we're asking them to do more with less…so very important.

Kris: You know Maine for those of you that don't know Maine - because viewers are all over the country - Maine is an amazingly beautiful state and there are less than a hundred nursing facilities and I have to tell you in my experience the services are exceptional and I tell the story that when I'm on a unit and I could smell the toast because they will make the toast on the unit so it doesn't come back mushy… but tell the viewers about how many buildings you have because there's multiple properties and to maintain your status and your reputation and your success you have a lot coming at you. So, I wanted them to know how many buildings you have and maybe about prioritization.

Deb: Sure. Yeah, we're an independent nonprofit organization and many people don't know that about us. We have six facilities - 640 beds total - and we have core values that we truly live by. One of those core values is excellence and so we have been actively engaged in the American Health Care Associations Quality Award Program. Last year we were blessed with achieving Gold Status for one of our facilities. So, as you know there were only 31 in the nation. We have three facilities that are applying in the next year or two for the Gold Quality Award as well. So excellence is who we are and I guess that's one of the key concerns I have in that you know with all of the changes that we’re being asked to do - how do I maintain that level of quality… quality of care, quality of life and excellence for the people we serve in this sea of change: reducing revenues and reimbursement methodologies and still with the same expectations and you know our veterans that we take care (and spouses) and seniors they're most deserving so we have to figure that out. 

Kris: You mentioned something earlier and you were the first one to say it today and I'm with you on it – so on point about prioritization. I call it the 20/80 percent principle. 20% of your time, 80% of your results. Really what I'm saying is prioritize. Know what you have to do first, second and I think with the inundation of change and regulatory mandates that it's overwhelming. Talk about how do you think prioritization…and is it a problem? Do people know how to prioritize?

Deb: Well I think I think it is one of the most difficult challenges that the industry faces and I frankly don't always think we do it well because we have multiple priorities hitting us at the same time. You know yesterday I was in a workshop for the new Requirements of Participation and the message was to continue to do what's right by the residents. Really work on prioritizing but everything is a priority. So how do we establish those priorities? You know we have to have methodologies for doing so. So, what are those big buckets that will allow us to improve what we're doing, continue to move towards hardwiring excellence and do the right thing by the residents and I think if we focus there and have the discipline to stay on that path without allowing other things to stray us from that mission I think we'll be successful in navigating the change.

Kris: That's great. Well thank you so much. Hearing it from Deb Fournier from Maine Vets from Maine: the prioritization, making sure your staff are educated and they understand there are a lot of things coming at us. Thank you so much.

Deb: You're welcome. Thank you for having me.

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