Guest: Sharon Roth McQuire
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Sharon Roth McQuire oversees the BrightStar Care clinical-quality platform including operationalizing the client care experience, designing clinical operational systems for domestic and international BrightStar Care locations, and managing clinical policies and procedures. Additionally, she leads Joint Commission accreditation and related processes, clinical program development, and plays a significant role in the launch of BrightStar Senior Living, BrightStar’s first residential product line focused on assisted living and memory care.
Segment overview: Sharon Roth McQuire, Chief Clinical Quality Officer of BrightStar Care, talks about operationalizing the client care experience and designing clinical operational systems.
Health Professional Radio – Client Care Experience
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I am your host Neal Howard. As many baby boomers become involved in healthcare of a loved one, the industry has become overflowing with providers claiming to offer quality healthcare. I guess it’s all about how one defines quality. Our guest in studio today is Sharon Roth McQuire, Chief Clinical Quality officer of BrightStar Care. And she is here to discuss with us operationalizing the client care experience and designing clinical operational systems at BrightStar Care. How are you doing today Sharon?
Sharon Roth McQuire: I’m great Neal. Thank you.
N: You’ve got many years of experience in the healthcare industry, a background in advanced practice nursing, executive management, education and more. You joined the BrightStar Care in 2011, originally served as the Vice President of Quality and Clinical Operations. Could you talk a little bit about BrightStar Care and your responsibilities now as opposed to when you first started?
S: Sure, absolutely. It’s been a thrill to be part of BrightStar Care for the last four years. And when I first came on board we were slightly smaller but a growing company. And we were looking for opportunities to continue to make a difference and to continue deliver on our promise of a higher standard. And so when I came on board we had another nurse with who I was working, who I’d already begun to champion some of our efforts with the Joint Commission and other quality platforms. But what I’ve added as a geriatric nurse practitioner is a focus on operationalizing evidence based programs that can produce clinical outcomes that not only are significant for the clients and patients themselves, but for our franchise owners, as well as for our health system partners. So simple example is we really focus astutely on something known as the National Patient Safety Goals. And while that sounds lofty and wonderful, how does one really do that? Well it begins with good process and good training and good system. And so we’ve been able to weave that all into our standard operating procedures, our training of our franchise owners that they can then impart to their staff at their locations. Because BrightStar is a wonderful system, it’s a franchise system where we require every location which is independently owned and operated to follow certain brand standards and of course we follow the standards of the Joint Commission. But we create all kinds of policies, procedures, forms, tools, guidelines, standards that the agencies are able to use and in fact are required to use, tweaking them is necessarily related to any state specific nuances. But they can make great use of what we’ve already investigated and developed based on again these wonderful evidence based guidelines.
N: Have you found in your experience with BrightStar Care that many of the procedures and practices as you mentioned, varying from state to state, has BrightStar been able to for lack of better term get a jump on some of the confusion by having dealings with the Joint Commission Accreditation process?
S: Yes, I really believe that. One of the things that’s certainly true is transitions of care which has been a big focus in area of the Affordable Care Act, because there has been significant reforms in the areas of Medicare payments. And anyone that receives Medicare payment for example health systems like hospitals, Medicare home health, Medicare hospice, physician practices, they are under tremendous scrutiny to reduce cost but maintain quality. BrightStar comes along as a very desirable partner because we follow these National Quality and Safety Standards of the Joint Commission. We have a registered nurse as our Director of nursing that is involved in every clients’ care regardless of how simple or how complex. And we understand the importance of post-acute care and can utilize again these evidence based standards that are part of the Joint Commission Approach whether it’s fall, risk reduction, infection control, home safety, medication safety and related practices are incorporated into every process we do with our clients at BrightStar. So regardless of what state you’re in, we know that there is a way that we conduct care and provide care, there’s a way that we train and competency test our caregivers that really makes this beautiful recipe of quality and helps with our partners who are struggling sometimes with the use Medicare payment reforms and the scrutiny that they’re under. It helps them when they look at Bright tar as a desirable partner who is like minded, has high standards, follows these national goals and we do this all over the United States and it does make a difference. And so that’s been I think a plus for those that we work with on the health system side.
N: Now you specialize in a wide variety of in-home care related activities. Do you deal with facilities as well as far as providing skilled staff to nursing facility or dementia care facility or even hospice?
S: Yeah, thank you that’s great point. I sometimes forget to mention that, but it’s a very important part of our business. We do provide in-home care pediatric to geriatric, companion, personnel, all the way up to skilled. But yes, we also do medical staffing. We serve many institutions. For example you mentioned skilled nursing facilities or assistive living communities, hospice physician offices, clinics – things of that nature – and yes we can provide anything from a registered nurse to a therapist to a caregiver, a CNA so we absolutely do that as part of our business model as well.
N: Let’s talk about BrightStar Care as being a franchise. You’ve got many locations across the United States and you mentioned that a registered nurse was your Director. Is that a requirement for each of your 300 plus locations? And is it also a requirement for a franchisee to be involved or in the healthcare industry?
S: Oh that is a great question. So our franchisees do not have to have a medical background but we have extensive training that they’re required to go through. We lovingly call it “Boot Camp” and so prior to opening as well as once they are open, there are a total of 5 weeks of various types of training that they go through. Anywhere from this preopening phase to post opening phase, and then our annual owners conference for example. So they get immersed in many attributes of running a healthcare company and of course a homecare company. But hence while we also then have this requirement that they have a registered nurse as one of their significant team members, leadership team members this is a BrightStar brand standard whether it’s required by the state or not. As I mentioned some states do require licensure for personal care or for skilled services. And we do encourage our locations to attain the highest level of licensure available within the state. And again whether it’s a states requires, a registered nurse as a director of nursing or not it is a BrightStar brand standard. And that registered nurse serves at that as subject matter expert for that franchise owner who may not have extensive healthcare experience. So it’s a very important brand standard and a very significant factor to contribute to the high quality.
N: And I’m certain that one of the high quality factors is that caregivers gets some insight into how to take care of themselves as they deal with their clients.
S: Oh I love that, that’s absolutely true. Our caregivers are selected and they go through a very rigorous process of screening. They have to have criminal background checks, they’re drug tested, we do reference checks and many other things. And then they are trained and competency tested by our registered nurse, director of nursing. They have to come to us with some experience but even though they have experience we want to make sure that they can validate that experience and then receive additional training and as I mentioned this competency testing. So that they show us, they know how to do what they’re about to do in a client’s real home. And it’s a very high bar, again a very important BrightStar standard and also a Joint Commission requirement that there is competency testing of the caregivers. And they absolutely do benefit from learning about things like infection prevention and medication safety and fall prevention for their own health and wellbeing too, as well as how to best take care of their clients.
N: And where can our listeners get more information about BrightStar care?
S: You can access us on the internet at brightstarcare.com and there is information about not only our whole health system, but about individual franchise locations.
N: Thank you so much.
S: Very welcome.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard is talking with Sharon Roth McQuire in studio today. She oversees the BrightStar care clinical quality platform including managing Clinical policies and procedures. It’s been great having you here with us today Sharon.
S: Thank you so much.
N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.com and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.