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Meet Karen Fernandes of AYR Consulting Group

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Fernandes.

Karen has been a nurse for over forty years and is principal and president of AYR Consulting Group that supports hospitals across the United States in their quest for quality and patient safety along with compliance to Joint Commission Standards and Medicare Regulations. Advocacy for Medical Transitions was just established to serve patients and their families and to help guide them through the confusing maze of healthcare.

She began her nursing career in New England and has held many positions in nursing from Medical/Surgical, Emergency, OB, Nursing Supervisor, Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Quality Management. Prior to establishing a consulting firm, Karen was with Tenet Health System and the Daughters of Charity National Health System now called Ascension.

Karen served as chairman of Joint Commission’s Professional Technical Advisory Committee for Hospitals 2001-2003 and served as a member of that committee for six years. She has also been a member of Joint Commission’s Hospital Advisory Committee and Nursing Advisory Council. She is currently now on the TJC Consultant’s Forum. Additionally, Karen was a member of the Federation of American Hospitals Quality Committee and served as Chairman of the Quality Committee 2000 – 2003. Karen was also a member of the National Quality Forum on the Consumer Council, Provider Council and Quality Council.

Karen presents seminars on Joint Commission survey preparation, readiness/compliance to Joint Commission standards and Medicare: CMS Conditions of Participation compliance. AYR Consulting Group conducts mock surveys and provides for continued survey readiness for hospitals. Karen speaks at hospital conferences, Medical Staff and Governing Board meetings on attaining Joint Commission standard requirements and maintaining compliance to CMS Conditions of Participation.

As a volunteer, Karen served as President of DES Action/USA and as a board member for many years. This was a non-profit organization whose goal is education, advocacy and support of the millions of Americans exposed to the drug Diethylstilbestrol in utero. Currently, Karen is the lead administrator for DES Info. This group provides ongoing information on DES exposure and other health related information for the DES Exposed. Karen has participated in NIH research studies on DES. She has also authored a DES Exposure Nursing Curriculum which is available in the United States, Canada and Europe. DES is the drug Diethylstilbestrol that was given to pregnant women from the 1940s to the 1970s that is a carcinogen and teratogen. In utero exposure resulted in many health issues for DES Daughters and DES Sons. NIH and NIEHS researchers have now noted that its effects are multigenerational and the DES Tragedy continues. Karen works to keep those affected by DES informed on the myriad of health care concerns and information to share with their physicians.

“Starting my career as a bedside nurse, I never imagined that my career would take me to where I am today. I love working with my clients to promote patient safety and now launching a second company Advocacy for Medical Transitions. I do miss bedside nursing but do feel that I am still contributing to patient care just through the many physicians, nurses and leaders that I work with.”

Has it been a smooth road?
It was very scary launching a new company as a nurse but the many positions that I have held over the years along with serving on national committees at The Joint Commission and in Washington helped prepare me. The time was right to start a consulting firm.

I have been fortunate to work with many healthcare leaders over the years and what has worked best for me is… word of mouth. The leaders were aware of my background, knowledge and strong ethics and they could rely on me to provide sound guidance.

One of the major challenges has been the reductions in reimbursement for hospitals making it difficult to bring in outside consultants. Hospitals are struggling and regulations are changing and many have found it beneficial to bring in someone from the outside to provide guidance. Some hospitals like support annually while others like support on a more frequent basis.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with AYR Consulting Group – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
AYR Consulting Group focuses on The Joint Commission healthcare standards as well as Medicare’s Conditions of Participation. As part of our work, we focus on quality and patient safety in addition to the regulations which is key.

We have developed a reference tool to assist our clients to stay informed in the continuing changing standards and regulations. We are there for our clients… we are just an email or phone away to guide them when questions or concerns arise.

When we work with our clients, we like to call ourselves “Coaches” rather than a surveyor. We tell the staff that he hospital has brought is in to be their “coach” just as Olympians have coaches, we are their coaches to assist them in providing their care and to understand why there are certain expectations. I think this philosophy makes us unique

We have a team of experts to assist our clients. A hospital can engage us for what is called a “Mock Survey” to review their entire operation or call us in to work with them on specific concerns.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Dallas is a wonderful metropolitan city with much to offer. I feel that Dallas is a city that has many facets, from entertainment, dining, museums, churches, parks and most important are the people of Dallas who are very warm and friendly.

Dallas provides world class healthcare from UT Southwest and the many excellent hospitals to provide care to our citizens.

Having two major airports is a plus. With DFW Airport, I have had no problems traveling to my clients since this is a major hub.

In 2017, I feel that the most difficult thing in Dallas is the traffic. As our city has grown and major companies are relocating to the Dallas area the traffic is difficult. Construction is underway to help but for now traffic is tough.

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