Fort Kent ~ For Northern Maine Medical Center (NMMC) employees, the year 2017 closed with unsurpassed pride in the accomplishments and goals achieved in the area of healthcare excellence. On December 21, 2017, in one of its routine data reports to compare hospital quality, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated the Hospital Compare website with hospital performance ratings. At this time, NMMC learned that it had earned a double five-star rating from CMS in both the ‘overall rating’ and the rating by patients for excellence in the patient experience.
CMS has been providing the public with the star rating report since July of 2016; the report is routinely updated with the most current data in July and December of each year. According to the agency report, “CMS is committed to empowering beneficiaries by providing transparent, comprehensive, and reliable information.” The site allows users to easily compare hospital facilities to assist them in making informed healthcare choices. The overall rating summarizes up to fifty seven quality measures reflecting common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks or pneumonia. The overall rating shows how well each hospital performed, on average, compared to other hospitals in the U.S. Measures used to calculate ratings include mortality, readmission, complications, imaging efficiency, unplanned hospital visits, process of care, healthcare associated infections and patient satisfaction.
Across the United States, 337 hospitals, or 9% of all hospitals, received the five-star rating. In Maine, there were five hospitals which received the top rating and two hospitals, NMMC and Redington-Fairview, which received a double five-star rating. The double five-star rating is awarded when five stars are earned in both the ‘overall rating’ and the rating by patients for excellence in the patient experience. Sue Devoe, Director of Quality at NMMC said, “This top rating demonstrates our commitment to pursue perfection and gather the resources necessary for the implementation of best practices for our patients. We make every effort to listen to our patients and this is a loud and clear response from them on what they expect when they come here for their healthcare.” The most impactful strategies implemented to date, according to Devoe, are: the involvement and engagement of frontline staff in performance review, the high level of communication between the Quality Department team and the clinical staff and strong collaboration of the interdisciplinary team members across the organization in planning patient care.
Devoe emphasized that performance improvement is supported by embracing the pursuit of habitual excellence from the bedside to the boardroom. Consistent with earning numerous other recognitions, namely: the Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence, designation as a Top 20 hospital in the country by the National Rural Health Association and listed by the Becker Healthcare Review as a Top 100 hospital nationwide, NMMC has demonstrated a strong commitment to pursue a culture of zero defects.
Peter Sirois, President and CEO at NMMC said, “By preoccupation with any failure, whether a single occurrence or a trend, we are positioning ourselves to eliminate patient harm. We are also committed to transparency at all levels and we are taking the next step toward this goal by adding two public members to our Quality Improvement Committee in 2018.” Sirois also said that operationalizing a culture of safety and transparency are key strategies to NMMC’s success to building a high reliability organization. For more details on NMMC’s double five-star rating go to www.hospitalcompare.org.
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