The results of a national hospital review ranks Rooks County Health Center (RCH) as tied for 39th out of 5,627 hospitals in the country for having the lowest rate of patient readmissions. The data was accumulated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and published by Becker’s Hospital Review. CMS guidelines use a hospital’s percentage of unplanned readmissions to gauge its efficiency in such areas as preventing complications arising from a hospital stay, providing clear instructions to the patient upon discharge after a stay and ensuring a smooth transition from the hospital back to the patient’s home.
An added note to this honor is the fact that RCH is the only rural critical access hospital to be named. All other hospitals honored are major regional or specialty surgery hospitals. Two specialty surgery hospitals, Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital and Kansas Surgery & Recovery Center, both located in Wichita were also ranked for a total of three Kansas hospitals to make the list.
Critical access hospitals located in rural regions like RCH normally experience higher rates of readmissions than the national average due to high percentages of the population being Medicare beneficiaries, older and with lower incomes. This information, along with the fact that several of the other hospitals listed don’t even have emergency rooms, places RCH at a significant disadvantage when reviewing hospitals for the rate of patient readmissions. Overcoming these disadvantages and being ranked among the top 50 hospitals in the United States illustrates how RCH’s recognition is even more profound.
RCH CEO, Mike Sinclair, credits the success to the hospital’s robust quality assurance program as well as the staff-driven culture of caring, compassion and striving for excellence.
“We strive to exceed the expectations of every patient we treat. To ensure that the highest quality of care is delivered, we measure many care indicators including preventing complications, patient safety, timeliness of care and providing clear discharge instructions.”
Sinclair conceded that inclusion on the list is extremely satisfying to RCH administration and staff because it is a testament to the effectiveness of the hospital’s overall quality assurance program and the caring culture embraced by every staff member.
Stephanie Bjornstad, RN and RCH Quality Assurance Lead, agrees, “All departments at the hospital constantly measure and analyze data to see where they can improve. We compare ourselves to state and multi-state groups. If we find an area for improvement the staff embraces the challenge and if needed has the full support and direction of the hospital board to back them up to make necessary changes.”
According to Bjornstad the staff of RCH is dedicated to the goal of being the best hospital in the state if not the nation. “We are doing great things at RCH every day and this just happens to be one that caught national attention.”