Hospital Corner – August, 2019

Hospital Corner – August, 2019

Pleased to announce that Dr. Lane Truman will be joining Mt. Grant General staff in September as our new physical therapist; he brings a wealth of experience and rural success with him.  Also new to the PT team will be physical therapy assistant Linda Werner; she will be a fulltime Mt. Grant employee as well (many temp PTAs recently).  They will be making Hawthorne their home; we welcome them to our community and hospital family.  My thanks to our current PT Dr. Kimberly Wortman for nearly two years of service to our patients and wish her the best in future endeavors.

HCAHPS anyone?  Not likely those letters mean anything to you; maybe this will help: Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers & Systems.  Simply put, these are quality indicators measuring hospital performance in several areas related to patient care.  All hospitals in this country are assessed annually (hospital ratings common on the Internet these days are developed from HCAHPS reports). Phone surveys of recently discharged patients are the source for most of the data collected.  Our latest results are based on 43 surveys taken from July 2018 through June 2019.

The focus areas (officially called domains) are: Medical Staff-Patient Communication, Responsiveness of Staff, Medication Communication, Cleanliness, Quietness, Discharge Instructions, and Care Transition.  There are subcomponents for each of these.  For instance, Medication Communication informs patients what drugs they will be taking (and why) and possible side effects.

How did we do? Mt. Grant General’s scores in each area are compared to state and national averages.   Measured against six other rural Nevada hospitals comparable in size to Mt. Grant, we did ok.  Our highest score was Discharge Instructions (82%: patients understand care they received & possible complications/symptoms to look for); Care Transition was our lowest (38%: patient preferences regarding healthcare needs and responsibilities discussed with medical staff). This is a head scratcher for me as both are all about communication.  Bottom line: Mt. Grant staff must improve communication (along with courtesy and respect) with patients while here and when they leave; no doubts or confusion about care should exist when patients go home.  We can do better—and we will.

Cleanliness and Quietness are two more areas needing attention.  While Cleanliness rating was on par with other rural hospitals (74%), our goal is and will always be 100%.  We have the world’s best housekeeping team so I am confident this will be achieved soon.  Quietness (52%) is a challenge all hospitals, large and small, must contend with.  In fact, not only rural Nevada hospitals but major metropolitan hospitals in Reno and Las Vegas scored poorly in this domain.  We will do our best, especially at night, to keep noise to a minimum but tile floors, narrow hallways and constant movement of staff, visitors and equipment make that no easy task.

One positive worth noting is the relatively high response rate from Mt. Grant patients compared to other rural Nevada hospitals; only Humboldt General in Winnemucca had more patient responses (significantly larger than we are).  Your comments and feedback are vital to continuing improvement efforts so please respond if a HCAHPS surveyor calls.  Of course, you can let me know anytime about the quality of your care while here. 

The future of rural healthcare will soon be a reality at Mt. Grant General.  We are teaming with Intermountain Healthcare, a large hospital system based in Utah with facilities in neighboring states, including Nevada.  They will be providing us with remote telecritical services, improving acute patient monitoring and care while at Mt. Grant.  Look for information in coming months as equipment is installed and staff trained.

Hugh Qualls, Administrator