Monday, September 28, 2015

The Million Dollar Survey

Chaplains will have an impact on Medicare reimbursements with their provision of spiritual care. Since CMS is placing a high degree of importance on the new Hospice CAHPS Survey, it behooves every hospice Chaplain to look at the Survey to find out what is being evaluated by the surviving family member(s) who complete the Survey. If the results of the Surveys are not good, it could cost a hospice of our size (1,000+ patients) a 2% decrease in reimbursements or over 1 million dollars. So, what’s in that Survey that a Chaplain should be concerned about? The primary question the family will answer is #36: Support for religious or spiritual beliefs, including talking, praying, quiet time, or other ways of meeting your religious or spiritual needs. While your family member was in hospice care, how much support for your religious and spiritual beliefs did you get from the hospice team? The family will answer one of three ways: Too Little, Right Amount, Too Much. Please do not think that because the final 3 words in the question #36 end with “the hospice team” that it excuses the Chaplain from responsibility. As the Chaplain the family will be looking you for direction and effective spiritual support during their loved one’s and their journey in the hospice experience. Other than providing spiritual support for the patient that is loving, encouraging, and compassionate, how can a Chaplain positively impact the family? Particularly for facility patients (LTC, hospital, and hospice house), the family members are not always present when a Chaplain visits. However, the Chaplain has access to the Primary Care Giver’s telephone numbers. After each visit with the patient, the Chaplain will place a phone call to the PCG informing that person of the visit and will express sincere concern for the PCG by asking, “And how are you?” Chaplains, this is a million dollar survey. While we have a small part in it, it is a vital part. Do your hospice ministry and by all means, be sure to include a phone call to the PCG and document it.

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