Avera Sacred Heart Hospital earns top performer status

Avera Sacred Heart Hospital earns top performer status
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital has been named one the top performers in a groundbreaking Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Premier Inc. project that rewards hospitals for delivering higher quality care in five clinical areas.

Avera Sacred Heart Hospital was rated in the top decile, based on its second-year, overall quality scores in three clinical focus areas � heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), heart failure and pneumonia. According to a Premier spokesperson, only five other hospitals out of 270 participating in this national project attained this high achievement.

"Providing quality patient care has always been our primary mission," said Pamela J. Rezac, Ed.D., Avera Sacred Heart president and CEO. "We were pleased to participate in this quality demonstration project and are proud that our performance was rated among the best."

In addition to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is also participating in the hip and knee replacement focus. The fifth clinical area in the study, coronary artery bypass, is not provided at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital.

Theresa Guenther, Director of Quality for Avera Sacred Heart, is the coordinator of the overall project. "Our high rankings were achieved through a team effort of physicians, nurses and other staff members who believed in the primary focus of providing quality care to our patients," she explained. "Our staff has been dedicated to improving quality of care and patient safety as well as our mission to reduce the costof care."

"The main point is that the majority of hospitals in the CMS/Premier project, even those on the lower end of the scale, improved their quality of care across the board with respect to reliable use of scientifically based practices," said Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, president and CEO at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). "Hospitals want to offer high quality care; sometimes they just need to be pointed in the right direction. The project has offered hospitals a guideline to improve their patient care."

Along with improving quality and safety of care, the demonstration project also tests the impact of economic incentives on improving health care quality. Medicare is offering incentives for hospitals that score in the top 20 percent for each of the five conditions.

"The focus of the project has been on learning new ways to improve the care we provide," said Rezac. "This demonstration project shows that by concentrating our efforts on quality standards and best practices, health care costs will also be controlled."

Based on its high score, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital will receive a performance award of over $46,000 from CMS, which provided incentive payments of $8.7 million to 115 top-performing hospitals. Rezac said that any payment the hospital receives will go toward future quality improvement initiatives.

For complete information about the HQID project, visit our website at www.premierinc.com/qualitydemo.

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