Texas Perinatal Services maternal verification surveyors are 100% Texas-based, Texas-experienced clinicians, who understand the unique challenges of delivering maternal care in such a large and diverse region. We are excited to introduce you to another one of these exceptional Texas surveyors, Dr. Sireesha Reddy. Read what she has to say about the value of maternal verification surveys, and steps your hospital can take to prepare for its survey.
Sireesha Reddy, M.D., is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist in El Paso who is professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology, with a secondary appointment in pediatrics at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Her clinical focus is in the care of pediatric and adolescent gynecology patients. She is one of the exceptional maternal surveyors on the Texas Perinatal Services team.
Here are her insights on the maternal levels of care verification surveys and how hospitals can prepare for them.
How will hospitals, and more importantly their patients, benefit from the new maternal care verification surveys and designation rules?
The survey is an important aspect of assessing how hospitals are preventing maternal mortality. This should be a key organizational priority for all labor and deliveries in the hospital. Verification surveys make hospitals accountable, ensuring safe care and concerted effort that their patients can access appropriate care. The maternal verification surveys give the state insight as to how hospitals in various regions provide care to mothers, and hopefully, with time, there brings some standardization across the board and resources to regions that do not have the level of care they need for their region.
Why did you choose to become a surveyor?
I chose to become a surveyor because I think collaboration is key. It is a great opportunity for me to learn how other hospitals are providing care. So in a way, it helps me to gauge how I am providing care in my region. I see how others are doing things better, and see how we can do better. At the same time, it’s a passion of mine to make sure that women have high levels of care through their life span, recognizing that the greatest risk is through the childbearing years.
As a surveyor, I recognize how collaboration plays a role in getting buy-in and implementation of guidelines. Certainly the hospital is the one that is implementing this care, but they do this with the auspices and guidelines from other entities. So many individuals and departments have key roles in hospitals to improve care and outcomes.
The maternal care survey is an opportunity for hospitals to show what they do well. It is very exciting as a surveyor to go to a location and see how the individuals there want to show you how well they do things. I am not there to critique their management of patients. I want them to show me what they do well.
What is special about TETAF/Texas Perinatal Services?
TETAF has a great reputation for surveying and a standardized process for surveying. From my initial surveyor training with TETAF, it was clear that they understand surveyors’ anxiety, and were very supportive. They were able to demonstrate their own expertise in chart reviews and their expert understanding of the intricacies of the maternal rules for hospital designation. TETAF is an expert in surveying hospitals. They were involved in trauma and neonatal hospital designation. They have a rich history in working with hospitals. The interesting and cohesive part is that they have the ability to bridge the process between these designations even if it is trauma or neonatal. They have an understanding that there is a commonality in all designations and that can bridge specialties to make processes in other areas better.
What experience(s) do you bring to your role as a surveyor that you hope will be beneficial to the hospitals and clinical teams you survey?
As a chair and leader in my department, we are constantly holding ourselves accountable through safety and quality initiatives. My experience is that I have an understanding of the maternal rules for hospital designation, various guidelines to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and national initiatives to improve maternal outcomes. As a leader, I want the community to be able to trust us. So understanding our responsibility in the community is a value as a surveyor.
The maternal care surveys are new to hospitals; what advice can you offer them as they prepare for the process?
If the hospital has a quality team, tightening up those processes is valuable. The questions they should ask themselves: what have we done well, and not so well, what can we do better? The hospital should understand their strengths and weaknesses, and put things in place to address those weaknesses. I would suggest calling the hospitals that already have gone through the survey process. They should ask their NICU or nursery leaders who went through their surveys, what was their process, and what would they do differently or the same if they had to go through the survey again. I would suggest performing a mini mock survey of their own processes so they can see what they do well and don’t do well. I would strongly
recommend looking at the maternal designation rules, line by line and understand what those rules mean. If the hospital doesn’t understand what the rules mean, call the state. Prepare, prepare, prepare and question, question, question.