By Michael Howell
Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital was recently ranked in the top 100 critical access hospitals in the nation.
Small and rural hospitals play a critical role in providing efficient and effective health care that is on par with other larger suburban and urban counterparts, according to iVantage Health Analytics, the company that rates hospitals across the nation based on the Hospital Strength Index which is based on an evaluation of market conditions, clinical and operational performance, and financial and qualitative concerns.
“The hospital Strength Index reflects the multiple challenges of running a hospital by incorporating the measures on which the industry has worked to gain consensus and standardization,” said John Morrow, the company’s executive vice-president.
The Hospital Strength Index rates 4,400 general acute care hospitals, including 1,300 Critical Access Hospitals. The index is based on eight performance categories measuring 56 different performance metrics. The Index offers hospital executives, boards of directors and communities an objective way to measure their performance internally and among their peers.
The hospital’s high rating came as good news to CFO Donja Erdman, Director of Quality Mira McMasters and Director of Nursing Susan Hill.
McMasters said that high quality patient care was part of the culture at Marcus Daly and she was proud of her physicians and their nursing teams. She said that the hospital employs outside vendors to measure the quality of its services and help plan specific quality improvements.
“We collect a lot of data to track our performance results and improve our delivery of services,” said McMasters.
One of the measures of a hospital’s ranking is the 30-day readmission rates as well as the 30-day mortality rates. Director of Nursing Susan Hill said that the addition of 24/7 hospitalist staff had increased patient care tremendously. The hospital also recently added three case managers, which improves the likelihood of patients not being readmitted for the same illness. A brand new call system in patient rooms ensures that patient response time is further reduced and a focus on pain management, proper discharge instructions and medication management also contributes to exceptional patient outcomes. Hill said the hospital is always looking for feedback from the patients to improve its services.
The hospital performed particularly well in the financial category with costs and charges lower than over 90% of critical access hospitals nationwide. Hospital CFO Donja Erdman said that she works hard on balancing the need for services with the need to re-invest in the facility itself. She said it is important to have a sound financial base that can support the staff required as well as provide them with the best equipment available.
“As a community based non-profit we do a lot that is not exactly cost effective,” said Erdman. But the hospital has managed to make some significant improvements to its facility with a new emergency department, laboratory, rehabilitation center and four new medical clinics.