4 Maine hospitals praised in national quality report

Posted Sept. 20, 2012, at 5:23 p.m.

Four Maine hospitals are included on a national list of health providers excelling at treating common medical conditions and illnesses such as heart attacks and pneumonia.

The Joint Commission, a major hospital accreditation organization, this week released its annual list of “top performers,” or hospitals that follow recommended treatment protocols at least 95 percent of the time.

Maine Medical Center was recognized for following basic procedures on four of the eight measures: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. The commission also looked at care for strokes, blood clots, children’s asthma and psychiatric problems.

“We’re proud of the recognition we’ve received from the Joint Commission, and credit goes to the dedicated staff who care for our patients,” said Doug Salvador, vice president for quality and safety at Maine Medical Center. “This recognition also reflects our ongoing efforts to provide the best and safest care, and our work to continually improve our delivery of that care.”

The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle and Goodall Hospital in Sanford made the list, excelling on three measures, and Sebasticook Valley Health in Pittsfield was included for its performance treating pneumonia.

Goodall also made the list last year.

“We understand that what matters most to patients at Goodall Hospital is safe, effective care. That’s why we have made a commitment to accreditation and to positive patient outcomes through evidence-based care processes,” said Patsy Aprile, president and CEO of Goodall Hospital.

The commission looked at how well during 2011 hospitals followed protocols that are proven to lead to better care, such as giving heart attack patients aspirin upon arrival, administering antibiotics an hour before surgery, and developing plans for children with asthma to manage their condition at home.

“We take great pride in this recognition of how seriously the TAMC team works each and every day to ensure we not only meet but exceed patient expectations in delivering quality care,” said Jay Reynolds, TAMC’s chief operating officer and chief medical officer.

The report recognized 620 hospitals nationally, or 18 percent of those the Joint Commission accredits. Last year, the first time the commission publicly recognized individual hospitals for their performance, 405 hospitals made the list.

The Joint Commission report follows a number of other hospital quality ratings this year from various groups, including Consumer Reports and the Leapfrog Group, a patient safety nonprofit.

Health experts are still debating which measures best reflect patient care. That can lead to confusion, but also means more health data is becoming available to consumers, said Elizabeth Mitchell, executive director of the Maine Health Management Coalition.

“It is a sign that increasing transparency is something everyone is moving toward,” she said. “At this point, we’re not all using the same measures.”

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