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Focus of hospital board on improving quality of care

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees focused much of its meeting Wednesday on how to continually improve the quality of patient care at the hospital.

“This is the foundation of our success. Our reputation is only as good as the last patient we treated,” hospital CEO Mike McCafferty said.

In his administration report, McCafferty outlined the hospital’s operational plan, which is a two-year plan that will run through 2015 and help the hospital achieve goals outlined in its four-year strategic plan by setting out specific actions and ways to measure success.

The foundation of hospital operations is a set of “service standards” that all hospital employees are encouraged to practice daily.

“Our focus is to create a culture of kindness and a culture of safety for our patients,” McCafferty said.

Positive interactions between employees and patients are measured through patient and employee surveys and other measurement tools.

McCafferty dovetailed from the operational plan into discussion about value-based purchasing, a system that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented to reward and/or penalize hospitals around the nation based on measures of quality in four core areas.

CMS will take away 2 percent from what it would traditionally pay in reimbursements for in-patient Medicare and Medicaid patients — approximately $70,000 to $140,000 for Sheridan Memorial Hospital. Hospitals can earn back part, all or even more than that 2 percent cut through high performance scores on quality measures, McCafferty said.

Performance scores are evaluated on clinical process, patient experience, outcome measures and efficiency of care.

“It’s a lot of work, but what’s really nice about it is it’s framed in a way that we can get our arms around,” McCafferty said. “It’s quality measures that we already collect. We’re going to embrace it. We already score very well on all the items within value-based purchasing, and I think with some of the strategies we put together through our operational plan, we’re going to be able to focus in a very disciplined manner, and we’re going to be able to score well.”

McCafferty also touched on discussions between the Wyoming Business Coalition and the Wyoming Hospital Association regarding quality measurements. The business coalition, which consists of employers from around the state, is looking at ways to measure hospitals in order to help employees “shop” for the best place to receive care based on price and quality.

The business coalition originally asked hospitals to use a program called “Leapfrog,” but the hospital association felt that program had shortcomings, especially when measuring small rural hospitals. The two organizations are discussing more consistent ways to measure quality, perhaps based on the concepts found in value-based purchasing, McCafferty said.

Board member Dr. Michael Strahan noted in his Quality Committee Report that the hospital is working on improving its admissions process.

“What we’re doing now is working with our new Electronic Medical Records to try to get the questions that the employees ask the patients a little more streamlined so the patients don’t go through the same questions throughout the hospital — at admissions, then the nurse asks them the same question, then the doctor asks them the same question, and the janitor asks them the same question,” Strahan said.

In other business:

• The board approved three re-roofing projects on the hospital at a total cost of $156,885. The board had previously approved the projects, but they came in approximately $150,000 below expense estimates and it is customary to approve any changes in spending that differ from the original estimate by 10 percent or more.

• Facilities Supervisor James Rader announced that the new Urgent Care wing in the Emergency Room should open later this fall.

• Foundation Executive Director Ada Kirven said that three Foundation board members attended a conference on healthcare philanthropy in Powell and also announced that final plans for The Link, Partners in Pink, the Foundation’s annual fundraiser for breast cancer awareness and care, are coming together. The Link will be held Oct. 19. Details are available at sheridanhospital.org/pink_link.shtml.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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