Need a solution? Just ask your staff

Staff can ID necessary changes

Patient access leaders at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff, CA, are improving satisfaction by using feedback from newly created "transformational care" teams.

"The benefits will be better quality care for our patients," says Vicki Sanseverino, admissions manager/patient financial services liaison. "Sometimes the best ideas for change come from employees. When something is employee-driven, it may be better accepted."

The team members, who are all employees and not managers, collect ideas and suggestions from the entire staff for improvements. "There are so many changes that are management-driven or rolled out on a corporate level," she says. "Employees often feel we do not take their opinions into account."

Ask staff for solutions

When a radiologist at St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital/St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, NJ, needs to verify if the insurance is complete before giving a CT scan with contrast, he or she contacts a manager instead of the pre-registration staff person.

This change was suggested by a patient access employee who noticed that staff members were being interrupted by calls from the radiology staff when they were with patients, says Sandra N. Rivera, RN, BSN, CHAM, director of patient access. "This allows the manager to be able to identify who is available to review the case and is not with a patient," she says.

Rivera routinely involves her staff when any communication or process issues need to be resolved in the department. "It is important to make them a part of the solution," she says. "At the end of the review, we will have one 'takeaway' that we all agree on."

It is easier to implement changes if staff members are included in the process, adds Rivera. "It allows the staff to have a better understanding of all the moving parts to the system," she says. "Our goals as an organization are not negotiable, but how we get there can be."


For more information on obtaining input from patient access employees, contact:

• Sandra N. Rivera, RN, BSN, CHAM, Director, Patient Access, St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital/St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ. Phone: (973) 754-2206. Email:

• Vicki Sanseverino, Admissions Manager/Patient Financial Services Liaison, St. Elizabeth Community Hospital, Red Bluff, CA. Phone: (530) 529-8065. Fax: (530) 242-5419. E-mail: