Periop Accreditation Readiness CEO discusses incorporating education in consulting

Marla Roberts, RN, is the founder and CEO of Periop Accreditation Readiness, LLC, in Waverly, Tenn.

Ms. Roberts will serve on the panel “Common Accreditation Fails and How to Avoid Them” at Becker’s ASC Annual Meeting. As part of an ongoing series, Becker’s is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Oct. 27-29 in Chicago.

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Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your organization up for success?

Marla Roberts: I have added education seminars to our current offering of accreditation reviews and infection control surveys. The most current is “The Perioperative Guide to Documentation” which ensures current hospital EHRs are covering all the necessary parameters to protect their nurses’ licenses and decrease hospital risk. Many RNs are losing their licenses because their EHRs are not including pertinent patient information. RNs have been taught to “check the boxes” and are leaving out valuable information in their charting leading to increased lawsuits, declined insurance payments and increased lawsuits for the hospital.

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous? 

MR: I am very nervous about the direction healthcare is taking with nurse staffing and the loss of nurses — especially in the OR setting. In a study I conducted recently, many nurses are leaving healthcare due to the threat of losing their license or risking the legal consequences of making a mistake. A lot of this could be avoided by providing more education to new nurses as well as seasoned nurses. Other new nurses are leaving due to the lack of work-life balance that taking call for the OR demands. Hospitals need to look at newer, creative ways to decrease the amount of on-call individuals, especially in rural areas.

Q: How are you thinking about growth over the next 12 months? 

MR: In healthcare consulting, it is difficult to project growth. I would like to think more hospitals will use Periop Accreditation Readiness, who has now partnered with Performance Accreditation Resource, for their preparation for government or regulatory accreditation surveys and infection control assessments. We are honest, thorough and believe in ensuring the patient has a safe, quality experience while in the hospital setting. We also believe in teaching during our assessments, aiding in the growth of quality and infection control leaders, nursing staff and technicians and being “hands-on.” We are not just a consulting firm who tells you what needs to be done. We will get in the trenches and help to get it done alongside the staff.  That is what makes us different and will aid in our growth.

Q: What will healthcare executives and leaders need to be effective leaders for the next five years?

MR: For staffing, healthcare executives and leaders will need to address the new ideas and mentality of the Millennial and Gen Z generations. They are very different from previous generations and are demanding better work/life balance, timely promotions or recognition, great working culture and higher compensation. 

Payer compensation is very important with payer mix being at the forefront. Due to the increasing unemployment numbers, there will be more people without insurance. However, even those with insurance will struggle meeting their new high deductible plans, copays and prescription bills. Due to the baby boomers retiring, there will be more Medicare patients, which means hospitals will definitely have to focus more on quality and safety to maintain reimbursement status with government programs.

Q: What is your strategy for recruiting and retaining great teams? 

MR: As far as recruiting, you need to be aware of what others are offering in your area to be competitive. Great leadership models, such as Studer, need to be taught to staff right away to create a better working environment for staff and patients. Some always go straight to compensation as a means of retention; however, great leadership — leaders who genuinely care and listen to their employees — will retain great employees.  Leaders should leave their offices and work alongside their staff whenever possible. Always keep in tune with what is going on in the hospital departments. Attend staff meetings, birthday parties, any unit celebration and let them know you care. 

I have left many positions for a lower paying position for leadership who were engaged with employees. I have had many employees follow me from one place to another because they knew I genuinely cared about them, their families and their own career plans. And, I have always believed in the saying, "What you permit, you promote. What you allow, you encourage. What you condone, you own. What you tolerate, you deserve." This is what has always helped me to retain great staff as well as ensuring those who wanted to advance were given the education and wings to do so.

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