Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TOP STORY >> Hospital cited for improvements

Leader staff writer

North Metro Medical Center in Jacksonville is one of 28 hospitals statewide that have reduced hospital acquired conditions by 40 percent and re-admissions by 20 percent over the past three years as required by the new health-care law.

Both were goals set for members of the American Hospital Association/Health-care Research Educational Trust Hospital Engagement Network through the Arkansas Hospital Association.

According to a news release, as one of the 45 hospitals that participated in the program, North Metro has contributed to an estimated reduction of 2,144 events and a savings of $10.88 million across the state.

More specifically, at North Metro, there were no central line-associated blood stream infections, no surgical site infections and no ventilator-associated conditions in 2013 and 2014, according to chief executive officer Cindy Stafford.

She said the hospital also had a below average number of readmissions and no health care acquired infections for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) — a bacterium responsible for several difficult-to-treat infections that is typically community acquired — and Clostridium difficile — a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Illness from the latter most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after patients use antibiotic medications, Stafford explained.

About meeting the network-set goals, the CEO said, “This demonstrates our focus on quality and providing the safest care to our patients, our commitment is providing the best care to our patients closest to home…I’m very proud of the hospital and all the quality initiatives the clinic staff have put in place to make sure patients receive the best care.”

About reducing readmissions, Stafford continued, “We want to make sure we take care of the patients properly, and give them enough education so that when they leave, they don’t have to come back to the hospital.”

According to the release, the network North Metro is in is one of 26 networks in the Partnership for Patients program that was created under the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare.

Stafford explained that the Affordable Care Act put best practices in place that have been evaluated over time. The hospital achieved the goals by implementing those practices.

North Metro is planning an event that will recognize its staff for all their hard work in meeting the network-set goals, Stafford added.

According to the release, a Department of Health and Human Services report showed an estimated 50,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and approximately $12 billion in health-care costs were saved from 2010 to 2013. It also states that hospital-acquired conditions went down 17 percent over that three-year period.

Bo Ryall, president of the Arkansas Hospital Association, said in the release, “Arkansas hospitals have embraced this work and have shown the importance of providing high-quality, safe care. We could not have seen these great results without the commitment of those hospitals who care for patients in their communities.”