At Diversified Piping & Mechanical, we have seen a lot in our 40 years of service. Although we serve a diverse portfolio of clients, one of the most maintenance heavy can be healthcare facilities. As the healthcare delivery system continues to evolve, patient care standards, environmental requirements, and expectations increase. Combine that with Medicare / Medicaid reimbursement policies and things can get tricky very quickly!
If you have ever worked in or around an acute rehab, long term care, or an assisted living facility, you have surely heard of “state.” That would be the Ohio Department of Health and its survey team. These are required, unannounced annual inspections that determine the safety and quality measures of a given facility, as well as any deficiencies. Now, many understand that nursing and ancillary staff care is being reviewed, but did you know that facility and equipment conditions are evaluated as well? That’s right, everything from fire protection, to HVAC equipment, to the coolers in the kitchen are scrutinized and evaluated. Something as simple as a dirty rooftop A/C filter could see your facility slapped with a deficiency!
The following is an excerpt from the Ohio Healthcare Association’s 2nd quarter Bulletin:
Facility G: Safe/Clean/Comfortable/Homelike Environment – Temperatures
“The Facility failed to ensure comfortable and safe temperatures were maintained throughout the facility when temperatures exceeded 87 degrees Fahrenheit (F) in resident rooms and common areas on three of the five units in the facility. Additionally, the facility failed to monitor temperatures of resident’s rooms on a daily basis including weekends. This failure resulted in immediate Jeopardy for all residents who resided on the three halls where the Air Conditioning (AC) units were not working, exposing residents to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods, placing them at risk for life-threatening serious heat-related illnesses or death. Immediate Jeopardy began when the facility first became aware that one of the two AC units had a broken compressor rendering it non-functional.
Additionally, the facility failed to monitor the temperatures of the resident’s rooms on a daily basis. Observation revealed a digital thermostat mounted in the front dining room that measured an ambient air temperature of 88 degrees F. Interview with LPN revealed it had been hot in the facility, especially over the three-day weekend. Review of the daily room temperature logs revealed the facility did not monitor the temperatures during that weekend, nor did they attempt to make repairs in a timely manner.”
So, in the example above, we see a very avoidable issue turn into a nightmare scenario for residents, staff, and administrators alike. Ohio requires facilities maintain a comfortable, homelike environment, and this requires comfort systems to be operating properly. Remember, there are family and resident satisfaction surveys as well. Just because an environmental condition is “tolerable” to staff or other residents, does not mean it is for everyone! Be proactive and diligent to avoid both costly breakdown repairs, as well as citations or loss in reimbursements.
Diversified Piping & Mechanical works with many Northeast Ohio healthcare facilities by providing a comprehensive preventive maintenance program. Our facility-specific program is designed to efficiently and cost-effectively maintain a variety of mechanical systems, from A/C units and boilers, to commercial coolers and freezers, ensuring peak operation. This not only increases longevity of your equipment and operating at efficiency, it also significantly reduces the risk of costly breakdown repairs. Why roll the dice and take the chance that a breakdown or inefficiency could cost you a great survey? Give us a call today to discuss our full range of services and programs!