Utah Navajo Health System, Inc. recently soared through another successful Joint Commission survey of its new Durable Medical Equipment Department.
According to UNHS Durable Medical Equipment Manager, Logan Monson, this was a unique three-day survey to ensure that the new DME department meets all Joint Commission standards. Monson has been working with UNHS administrators and department leaders to create policies, procedures and logistics to start the newest division of UNHS. Their efforts paid off with sterling survey results in the Homecare portion of Joint Commission standards from inspector Cindy McNicholas.
McNicholas spent three days at the UNHS Community Health Centers in Montezuma Creek, Blanding Family Practice and Blanding Family Vision Center, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain. With the exception of a few small issues, the survey found the DME department to be in compliance with Joint Commission requirements. Part of the survey process included leadership sessions with UNHS personnel, talking about the role of leadership and developing a culture of safety throughout the organization. This was a big talking point, Monson added.
Another huge focus of McNicholas’ message during the survey was making patient care the biggest focus of the organization.
“She stressed that is why we’re in this industry and it must be the most important thing,” Monson explained. “She also thanked all the employees each day for doing a great job of focusing on patient care.”
“We are all going to be patients one day and we need to make sure we take care of each other,” McNicholas stressed during her visit to Navajo Mountain. “This is my passion. We need to take care of each other.”
Monson said he met with UNHS department leaders; emergency management, infection control and maintenance personnel, and all clinical managers to help establish the policies and procedures for the DME department. They offered suggestions and input into how the new department should operate. This input was invaluable to the process, he noted.
As for the DME department, UNHS is currently operating as it has up to now. However, the goal is to expand the scope of operation to include a wider variety of medical services, like oxygen and other equipment. This expansion will begin once the new Montezuma Creek Clinic building opens this summer. The plan also includes expansion of the Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain clinics to accommodate DME offices in each location. It also includes a DME office facility in the new UNHS Blanding Clinic that will open in the spring of 2019. Monson said the entire process could take up to three years to complete. The next step of the DME department is to become licensed with Medicare.
“We are going slow with this until our facilities are available. UNHS is growing like crazy but we’re keeping up with the growth,” Monson explained. “The UNHS Board of Directors is very supportive and that’s important. The Board members have the same vision as the UNHS administration and providers, and that’s providing great patient care. We want to provide the best patient care possible.”