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Recognition Validates the Hard Work

By Dr. David C. Pate, News and Community
January 14, 2013

Today, Healthgrades released its annual list of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence. I’ve asked Dr. Bart Hill, St. Luke’s chief quality officer, to share what the Healthgrades ratings indicate. His thoughts follow. 

In October, I wrote about some of the recognition we had been receiving for our good work, and it is my pleasure today to share additional news about the quality of health care that is being provided at St. Luke’s.

Today, Healthgrades released its list of top-performing non-federal hospitals across America. St. Luke’s Boise and Meridian were recognized for the second year in a row with a Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence.

This means that the care provided at the St. Luke’s hospitals in the Treasure Valley is among the top 5 percent of nearly 4,500 hospitals in the United States as it relates to overall mortality and complications.

There are 27 conditions that Healthgrades reviews across a broad range of clinical procedures and conditions, including cardiac and vascular care, orthopedics, general surgery, stroke, sepsis, general surgery, and pneumonia care.

To be eligible for this recognition, hospitals must provide services in at least 19 of those 27 areas. Nationally, if all hospitals had performed at this level from 2009 through 2011, a total of 164,414 deaths potentially could have been prevented.

There are a number of areas of outstanding performance at St. Luke’s in the Treasure Valley, including critical care, joint replacement, and vascular surgery.  For more information about Healthgrades, to download a complete copy of the report, or to get information about hospital quality ratings, visit http://www.healthgrades.com/.

At St. Luke’s, we are striving to transform health care by aligning with physicians and other providers to deliver integrated, seamless, and patient-centered quality care across all St. Luke’s settings. This is our vision.

Our strategy to do this is through accountable care. Accountable care can be broadly defined by our Triple Aim of better health and better care at lower cost. We are passionate about achieving our vision.

Specific initiatives that we have implemented across St. Luke's Health System in accordance with our Triple Aim include care coordinators and navigators to bridge care from hospital discharge to the outpatient setting, concurrent reviews of our safety events, and our telemedicine intensive care service, our eICU, which will expand critical care resources to patients all across our region.

I want to acknowledge the critical role that all of the clinics and hospitals, especially our rural hospitals, play when it comes to the health of people in our region. The volumes of particular illnesses don’t allow for St. Luke’s McCall, St. Luke’s Wood River, and St. Luke’s Jerome to be recognized for their outstanding work by national rating agencies such as Healthgrades, but their coordination of care has been critical to St. Luke's quality improvements, and they are playing a pivotal role as we move forward in delivering accountable care.

A tangible example of this coordinated work is our effort to achieve standardized care for conditions such as sepsis, stroke, and heart attack, no matter where you receive that care within St. Luke’s. It is this coordinated care that is one of the keys to the highest quality.

This recognition today is a tremendous accomplishment, and one that everyone throughout St. Luke’s Health System should be proud of. It is a reflection of a collective effort by all of the staff members and physicians who work so tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of the patients who come to St. Luke’s.

It is also a waypoint in our journey to transform health and health care, and to be a national leader in quality and safety. This continual pursuit of what we can be is one of the fundamental characteristics of the physicians and staff at St. Luke’s.  An attitude of continuous improvement builds value and makes a difference in people’s lives.

We recently completed work with staff from Healthgrades and have identified additional opportunities that I believe will continue to propel us forward in improving quality and safety. Opportunities exist at all of our sites, and there is courage and momentum to take action to improve our outcomes. Not every organization would welcome such a challenge, and it is this relentless pursuit of excellence that typifies my experience at St. Luke’s.

There are many other awards and recognitions that have resulted in St. Luke’s Health System being the most awarded health system in Idaho. These include recognition of St. Luke’s Magic Valley for the second consecutive year as a recipient of the Joint Commission’s Top Performance award for compliance with core measures and Treasure Valley being recognized as a Primary Stroke Center by the Joint Commission and being named a Top 50 hospital for cardiovascular care for the third year in a row by Truven Health Analytics.

For the recent Healthgrades recognition and all of the other achievements that St. Luke’s has achieved, I want to say congratulations to everyone throughout our System. The recognition is well deserved and not lightly earned. We are beginning to transform health care, and this recognition validates our hard work. Without all of you, we would not be the leader in quality health care that we are.

All of us in leadership would like to say thank you to our physicians, staff members, volunteers, contractors, and board members for all that you do to support St. Luke’s success. It takes all of us working together with common purpose to improve the health of our patients.

Please join me in celebrating these amazing successes. Tomorrow, we will return to work to provide seamless, compassionate, and high-quality care to those in our communities. Again, congratulations, and I hope that you will take a moment to appreciate this waypoint as we embark on the next part of our journey!

About The Author

David C. Pate, M.D., J.D., is president and CEO of St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho. Dr. Pate joined the System in 2009. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center.