Kudos to ARH for better rates

Published 4:01 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2014

No one who is hospitalized wants to develop more problems than they arrive with. But nationwide, numbers show many instances of hospital-acquired issues – mainly infections, pneumonia, or injuries from falls.

Andalusia Regional Hospital and its parent company, Lifepoint Hospitals, were a mong the 26 organizations selected by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in a hospital engagement network to address this national problem.

The CMS set an aggressive goal for the participants: Reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent by the end of 2014.

Nationally, those in the study have shown improvements, but are nowhere near the goal. Lifepoint and ARH announced last week that first-quarter data shows they have already achieved a 38 percent reduction. The group is on track to reach the 40 percent benchmark by year’s end.

The initiatives used here encourage nurses and patients to be better health care advocates.

“Basically, we’ve told them it’s OK to speak out if they see something they think is not right for a particular patient,” Paula Caraway said.

The hospital also put electronic monitors on handwashing stations in every patient room, and asks employees to wash their hands when entering a patient room and when leaving it.

The initiative was tested in one area of the hospital, and was so successful, it has been expanded throughout the patient areas.

While Lifepoint has seen significant success, ARH has, too, ARH interim CEO Steve Selzer said, although he wouldn’t say just how much.

“From this year compared to last year, there has been a very impressive reduction,” he said. “This came about by changing processes and being mindful of things. That is not to say we weren’t before. But now, nationwide attention is being drawn to it, and you are seeing those numbers drop.”

Kudos to Lifepoint and ARH for their work on this project. The quality healthcare they provide is an important asset to our community.