Planetree Merit Awards Program FAQs
I am almost finished completing my organization’s application for Planetree Designation. How does the launch of these new tiers affect my next steps?
Sites already well on their way to Designation are encouraged to stay the course and submit their application according to the timeframe they had already established for themselves. If, however, you have had some persistent reservations about your organization’s readiness to apply for Designation, applying at one of the preceding tiers may the right step for you at this time. The application questions and required documentation are the same across all tiers; the difference is in the number of criteria you need to document progress in. Therefore, if you have already begun filling out the Designation self-assessment and you opt to apply for a different recognition tier, your time and energy have not been for naught. Those responses all directly apply to the Bronze and Silver level as well.
Why do I have to specify which tier my organization is targeting? Why can’t I just submit the self-assessment and leave it to Planetree to determine what level of recognition we’ve achieved?
The intent of the tiers is to provide organizations with a more structured pathway to Designation by essentially breaking down the journey to patient- or resident-centered excellence into manageable segments. It is our hope that celebrating this incremental progress will further propel organizations in their culture change journeys. Inviting sites to apply more generically without declaring which tier they are applying for runs the risk of the first two tiers being viewed as consolation prizes to Designation. This would undermine the intent of celebrating progress and could, in fact, demoralize staff if a lower level is awarded than what was expected.
How will I know which tier to target?
The on-site Planetree team who facilitates your site’s progress assessment or gap analysis will coach you in determining the appropriate tier to target and in what timeframe. Ultimately, though, it is up to each site on its own to determine which tier it will target. A good first step for determining which tier to target is to download the Planetree Merit Award Application. This form clearly outlines the baseline requirements for each tier. You can use those baseline requirements as a litmus test of your readiness to apply at that level.
How do the tiers fit together?
Each tier builds upon the previous one(s). All criteria required for Bronze-level recognition are required for Silver and Gold, and likewise, all criteria required for Silver are required for Gold. The application process is constructed such that sites need not “start from scratch” when applying for a subsequent level. Every effort has been made to minimize cost and time for sites as they continue on the pathway to Designation.
Does my organization have to start at the Bronze level?
No. It is the expectation that some sites will want to move gradually and receive recognition at each individual tier. Others may prefer to hold off on applying until they feel ready to achieve either Silver recognition or Gold-level Designation. Either approach is supported through this process.
Won’t all these tiers just add more work?
Going through all three tiers should add very little workload to your staff. Each tier builds on the previous one(s). What is required for Bronze-level recognition is required for Silver (and then some); what is required for Silver-level recognition is required for Designation (and then some). You do the same work, no matter what. What the tiers provide is the opportunity to be formally recognized for this work as its progresses over time.
What are the benefits?
Meeting the established criteria for each tier attests to your organization being the “real deal” in patient- or resident-centered care. Recognition at each tier allows you to display and promote your achievement. Each tier has its own distinct and exclusive logo.
So, once my organization is awarded the Bronze Award, we are a Planetree Bronze Designated Hospital?
No. The terminology of Designation is reserved exclusively for sites that have demonstrated through documentation, observation and focus group discussion that 100% of the criteria for Planetree Designation have been meaningfully addressed. Only sites that have been awarded Designation by the Planetree Designation Committee have the right to use the gold Designation logo and to call themselves Planetree Designated® Patient-Centered Hospitals, Planetree Designated® Resident-Centered Communities or Planetree Designated® Client-Centered Organizations.
The Bronze and Silver Awards are levels of recognition, not designations.
Are all of the tiers recognized by The Joint Commission on its Quality Check Web site?
No, only sites that have achieved Planetree Designation will have a special merit badge added to their Joint Commission Quality Check profile page.
What does it cost to participate in the Planetree Merit Award Program?
Planetree affiliates will pay an application fee of $2,500 to apply for Bronze or Silver-level recognition. The on-site assessment component of the Bronze and Silver evaluation process is embedded as part of the progress assessment process. There is no additional site visit fee beyond those incurred for a standard progress assessment. The application fee will be adjusted if a site applies for the next tier within the three-year tier term.
The application fee is waived for affiliates applying for Designation. Planetree member sites applying for Designation pay only for the cost of the Designation site visit. These costs vary depending on the size and complexity of the organization.
One of my hospital’s greatest challenges to achieving Designation is our HCAHPS scores. Will we have the opportunity be recognized with the Bronze or Silver Award as we continue to work on improving our HCAHPS scores?
Yes. A staged approach to HCAHPS performance has been built into the recognition tiers:
- Sites eligible for Bronze recognition must be outperforming the CMS national average on at least three of the ten publicly reported measures. In addition, performance on each of the eight composites must fall no more than 7% points below the national average AND performance on overall rating must fall no more than 5% points below the national average.
- Sites eligible for Silver recognition must be outperforming the CMS national average on at least five of the ten publicly reported measures. In addition, performance on each of the eight composites must fall no more than 7% points below the national average AND performance on overall rating must fall no more than 3% points below the national average.
- There are no further changes to the HCAHPS criteria for Designation.
Why is this tiered approach not yet being launched internationally?
The international criteria for Planetree Designation remain in the testing phase. It is important that more international sites have the opportunity to proceed through the Designation process using the international criteria in order for us to refine the criteria as necessary. This experience will, in turn, inform the international recognition tiers. We anticipate launching the program internationally within one year.
I’m ready! What’s the next step?
Contact the Planetree Designation Office at 203-732-1379 or email Christy Davies, Designation Coordinator, at email@example.com. We’ll provide you with a starter kit.