CALAIS, Maine — Calais Regional Hospital is among the 2012 recipients of a “Top Rural Hospital” award from The Leapfrog Group.
Founded 12 years ago, The Leapfrog Group is a private-sector initiative launched to improve the quality of care in hospitals nationwide. The organization was created by large employers concerned that employees receiving health care benefits were not being adequately served. It is a voluntary program designed to put the health care system on notice that “big leaps” in health care safety, quality and value will be recognized and rewarded.
The Leapfrog Group was organized in response to a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine on the incidence of preventable medical mistakes. That report found that up to 98,000 Americans die every year from preventable medical errors made in hospitals. That number represents more deaths in hospitals each year from preventable medical mistakes than deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer and AIDS.
Michael Lally, the CEO of the 25-bed Washington County hospital, was in Baltimore Tuesday to accept the Leapfrog award.
“Our ranking as a Leapfrog top rural hospital is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the staff at CRH,” Lally said. “Delivering high-quality, safe care is part of the entire team’s commitment to a solid culture of safety. This award belongs to everyone and is not to be taken lightly. Thousands of hospitals are reviewed and only a select few receive this designation.”
Leah Binder, the CEO of The Leapfrog Group, described the award as “the most competitive award a hospital can receive.” Nearly 1,200 hospitals participated in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. Calais Regional Hospital was among 13 facilities nationwide that were designated as a “Top Rural Hospital.”
“This hospital stands out as one consistently providing safe, high-quality care, and I would be comfortable sending my family to Calais Regional Hospital for care,” Binder said.
For the past two years, Calais Regional Hospital has been developing a Division of Quality Management, which oversees patient safety, quality care and risk management.
“The real reward has been knowing our patients are having better outcomes,” said Teena Dominie, a nurse who serves as the hospital’s director of quality management. “The fact that the organization is being recognized for our staff’s tireless efforts is just a bonus. All should take great pride in this recognition.”
Dominie said Wednesday that the hospital is now using new bar coding technology that allows bedside verification as drugs are administered. Within the emergency department, she said, the focus has been on improving diagnostic response time for stroke patients. At one point it took an average of 56 minutes between the arrival of a stroke patient and a diagnostic CAT scan. That number is now down to 10 minutes. It used to take 77 minutes for a radiologist to interpret those scans. That number is now down to 24 minutes, she said.
Dominie said the effort has required intensive staff education that has involved every department of the hospital. Each department makes a quarterly report that is used in establishing new practice recommendations.
The hospital is planning an in-house employee luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 12, to celebrate its award.