Tri-County Hospital is Joint Commission 'Top Performer'

Tri-County Hospital has been named one of the nation's top performers for attaining and sustaining excellence in key quality measures by Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in the United States. The Top Performer program recognizes accredited hospitals that attain and sustain excellence in accountability measure performance. Tri-County represents the top 37 percent of all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals that reported accountability measure performance for 2013 and are being recognized for our achievement in Pneumonia and Surgical Care.

Tri-County Hospital is one of 22 of the 143 Minnesota hospitals to be recognized by The Joint Commission as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures. This distinguished award recognizes Tri-County's commitment to assuring that evidence-based interventions are delivered in the right way and at the right time—because it's the right thing to do for our patients.

"Shorter hospital stays, fewer complications, quicker recovery, fewer return visits after receiving care—these are things that all of us want and quite frankly deserve as patients—what I would expect and demand for myself and my family," said Joel Beiswenger, Tri-County Health Care President and CEO. "Tri-County is evaluated on these measures each and every year, and I am proud to say that we are not only meeting, but we are exceeding these national standards."

To be recognized as a top performer, Tri-County Hospital had to:

  • Achieve cumulative performance of 95 percent or above across all accountability measures.
  • Achieve performance of 95 percent or above on each and every reported accountability measure where they are at least 30 denominator cases.
  • Have at least one core measure set that has a composite rate of 95 percent or above, and (within the measure set) all applicable individual accountability measures have a performance rate of 95 percent or above.

A 95 percent score means a hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 times out of 100 opportunities to provide the practice.

"Each accountability measure represent an evidence-based practice," said Tammy Suchy, Director of Quality and Risk Management/Compliance Officer. "For example, the appropriate antibiotics are started within one hour prior to the surgical incision, allowing time for the antibiotics to get into the system; the appropriate action is taken to prevent blood clots; and, if you are admitted for community-acquired pneumonia that appropriate antibiotics are given to treat it."

The Joint Commission continues to be a leader in performance measurement and is the nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. Quality improvements in hospitals contributes to saved lives, better health and quality of life for many patients, as well as lower health care costs.

"This distinction is significant because it is based on evidence-based interventions that lead to better patient outcomes," said Beiswenger. "This recognition by the Joint Commission is made possible because of our staff's dedication to our community. Their hard work, commitment to their patients and ability to work as a team makes a difference."

In addition to the Top Performer on Key Quality Measure, Tri-County Health Care has received the Gold Seal of Approval™.

March of Dimes recognizes Tri-County Health Care

Tri-County Health Care is recognized for reducing the number of elective inductions and Cesarean deliveries performed before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy. March of Dimes says this will give more babies a healthy start in life. Babies delivered before full term are at increased risk of serious health problems and death in their first year of life.

"We're proud of our expert team of physicians and nurses who saw this opportunity to improve care in our community and put in place policies to avoid scheduling elective inductions or caesarean deliveries before 39 weeks of pregnancy, except when medically necessary" said Joel Beiswenger, Tri-County Health Care President and CEO.

Delivering a healthy baby is a priority at Tri-County Health Care. The passionate team of Tri-County physicians, nurses and prenatal educator's believe in educating parents on the importance of inductions and elective surgeries after 39 weeks of pregnancy and teaching them when to call to talk to a nurse. This dedication and commitment to giving babies a healthy start at life is recognized through a banner from the March of Dimes and Minnesota Hospital Association.

Babies born just a few weeks early have higher rates of hospitalization and illness than full-term infants. Recent research by the March of Dimes, the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that although the overall threat is small, the risk of death more than doubles for infants born at 37 weeks of pregnancy when compared to babies born at 40 weeks, for all races and ethnicities.

"The last weeks of pregnancy are important. Babies aren't just putting on weight. They are undergoing important development of the brain, lungs and other vital organs," says Lawrence Massa, March of Dimes Board Member and Minnesota Hospital Association President and CEO. "I commend Tri-County Health Care for being a champion for babies with their quality improvement effort."

In partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes has been getting out the word that "Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait". The campaign urges women to wait for labor to begin on its own if their pregnancy is healthy, rather than scheduling delivery before 39 completed weeks of pregnancy.

In Minnesota, March of Dimes worked with the Minnesota Department of Human Services and hospitals to adopt policies against medically unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks. This change went into effect in January 2012. Minnesota Hospital Association numbers show the number of early elective deliveries has decreased by 92 percent.

The March of Dimes offers professional and consumer education materials about the importance of a full term pregnancy and the critical development of the brain, lungs and other organs that occur during the last weeks of pregnancy. More information is available at marchofdimes.com/39weeks.

Dr. Pate recognized by Minnesota Hospital Association

On Thursday, August 27, Tri-County Health Care administration and staff recognized John Pate, M.D for his "Good Catch for Patient Safety Award" from the Minnesota Hospital Association.

"Our hospital is deeply committed to patient safety, and it is truly an honor to have one of our physician's recognized for his hard work and dedication to the safety of our patients," said Kathy Kleen, Chief Nursing Officer at Tri-County Health Care. "We hope that recognition like this reinforces what many of our patients and their families already know: how highly we value their safety."

Patient safety is a top priority for Minnesota hospitals and at the top of mind for every caregiver in every clinical setting – and at Tri-County Health Care this is no exception. The facts are undeniable, up to 50 percent of hospitalized patients are at risk for falls and almost half of those who fall suffer an injury. "Dr. Pate's willingness to take time to explain to our patients the risk of falling and educating them about the importance of waiting for help before getting up helps keep our patients safe. His commitment to patient safety is a good example to all staff," said Kleen.

Minnesota is a national leader in patient safety and quality and through Tri-County Health Care's partnership with the Minnesota Hospital Association they have reached a superior level of performance in patient safety. "Dr. Pate's recognition by the Minnesota Hospital Association is an example of the culture we have at Tri-County Health Care to continuously make patient safety a priority," said Tammy Suchy, Quality Manager at Tri-County Health Care.

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