A Publication of WTVP

Hospitals across the country are searching for ways to improve the quality of care while promoting effective quality improvement strategies. Regardless of size, hospitals today face ever-increasing demands for quality, technology and patient satisfaction in order to sustain their existence and remain competitive in a quickly changing economy.

It’s hard to miss the news—healthcare costs continue to rise—and there is an ever-increasing public debate about the quality of the healthcare we’re getting for the money we’re spending.

Long before healthcare reform legislation became a reality, Methodist Medical Center took an early and aggressive lead in a movement to improve services to patients. It’s a long-standing commitment reflected in and nurtured by active leadership and personal involvement on the part of the CEO, the board of directors and the leadership team.

When President and CEO Michael Bryant first came to Methodist Medical Center in 1999, he began an organized system-wide program to elevate quality and excellence in all aspects of the hospital, whether it’s the hospital mission of “Delivering Outstanding Healthcare. Period.”; the posting of quality reports on the hospital website; or the organizational strategic plan, which includes the three core competencies of clinical excellence, service excellence and operational excellence.

The criteria of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award are used to improve performance throughout the organization. The Baldrige Award is presented by the President of the United States to businesses that apply and are judged to be outstanding in the areas of leadership; strategic planning; customer and market focus; measurement, analysis and knowledgeable management; workforce focus; process management; and results. This past October, Methodist was one of seven healthcare organizations in the nation to receive a site visit by an examiner team of the Baldrige Award.

As director of Quality and Safety for Methodist, Cindy Hale plays a key role in the monitoring and implementation of performance excellence initiatives throughout the organization. “Our performance improvement efforts resulted in Methodist receiving the Silver Award from the Lincoln Foundation for Performance Excellence in 2005, and in 2006, the Gold Award, the highest quality award in the state of Illinois. The Lincoln Foundation presents a three-tiered award process based on the criteria for performance excellence of the Baldrige National Quality Program. In 2006, Methodist was the only organization to receive a Lincoln Gold Excellence Award and was the first Gold Award recipient since 2003.”

More recently, Methodist was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals 2009-2010. It also ranked the highest in central Illinois for overall hospital care and overall surgical care, according to CareChex, the most comprehensive independent ratings of hospital quality. CareChex also ranked Methodist among America’s Top 100 hospitals for major orthopedic surgery.

Methodist also received a number of clinical achievements in the 2010 HealthGrades Patient Safety Excellence Awards. HealthGrades is a leading independent healthcare ratings organization. In their just-released ratings, Methodist was the recipient of the HealthGrades 2010 Patient Safety Excellence Award as well as the HealthGrades Outstanding Patient Experience Award for the third year in a row. In addition, Methodist received the HealthGrades Stroke Care Excellence Award and is ranked among the top 10 percent in the nation for treatment of stroke. HealthGrades also gave five-star ratings for the treatments of pneumonia, respiratory failure and gastro-intestinal bleeding.

From the patient’s standpoint, Hale says that knowing that Methodist follows evidence-based medicine, individuals can feel assured they will have better outcomes in terms of complications that affect mortality.

Methodist has been a participant in the Healthcare Quality Improvement Demonstration Project since it started seven years ago. The project is conducted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and measures quality in key areas of healthcare services. CMS offers financial incentives for participating hospitals that meet established quality criteria, and Methodist has received the CMS incentive each year since it was first offered.

Methodist President and CEO Michael Bryant said, “Our commitment to quality reflects an explicit quality-related mission and values and is reflected and nurtured by active leadership and personal involvement on the part of everyone.” iBi