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KH hits 100 percent on core measures for third straight month

Posted: July 17, 2014 4:37 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2014 5:00 a.m.

As predicted at Monday’s meeting of the KershawHealth Board of Trustees, the healthcare system scored 100 percent on six quality core measures for the third month in a row in June. The measures, reported to The Joint Commission, are shown to reduce the risk of complications, prevent recurrences and otherwise ensure excellent care for patients who go to KershawHealth for treatment of particular conditions or illnesses.

The six core measures deal with heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, venousthromboembolism or VTE, pneumonia and a national surgical care improvement project known as SCIP.

At Monday’s board meeting, interim KershawHealth CEO Terry Gunn noted that the healthcare system had already earned 100 percent scores on these core measures in April and May.

“We’re excited about how June is shaping up and look forward to sharing some excellent results here soon,” Gunn said Monday. “The prolonged attention to quality is paying off now and we just want to sustain the momentum at this point.”

During a break in the meeting prior to trustees entering executive session, Trustee Dr. Tallulah Holmstrom, who chairs the board’s quality committee, said she believed June’s results would be available in a couple of days. The official word that it had earned 100 percent scores in all six measures for June came the very next evening in the form of a press release.

In that statement, Holmstrom said it “is a truly outstanding result” to score 100 percent on all the measure for an entire quarter.

“What it indicates is that for these six conditions, every patient treated at KershawHealth in the second quarter of 2014 received perfect care based on current best practices,” she said in the press release. “To accomplish that once is great; to do it three times in a row is incredible. That is a record any hospital would be proud of, and it’s a testament to the unrelenting focus on quality outcomes by physicians, nurses, and all the clinical staff.”

According to KershawHealth, the Joint Commission developed the core measures, deriving them from a set of quality indicators and appropriate treatments defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“The measures are based on clinically-proven best practice therapies and key actions that have shown to reduce the risk of complications and prevent recurrences in this group of common hospitalizations,” KershawHealth administrators said in the press release. “They were designed to improve the quality of healthcare by implementing a national, standardized performance measuring system.”

Administrators said that standardization makes it easier for consumers to compare the quality of hospital care in South Carolina and across the country. They said KershawHealth is, for example, using the same treatments and therapy for heart failure as other hospital in South Carolina and throughout the U.S., regardless of facility size.

“This accomplishment is a reflection of the commitment of the entire KershawHealth team to doing what matters most to them -- providing great patient care every day,” Gunn said in the release. “Consumers today -- our patients -- want to know they’re getting the best possible care, and core measures are one way we can assure them that is happening.”

KershawHealth Chief Nursing Officer Stacy Collier spoke in the press release of the hard work put into quality patient care.

“We have been working incredibly hard for the past several years on meeting these core measure goals consistently, and instituting the incremental changes necessary for success,” Collier, who is the hospital’s former director of quality services, said. “We didn’t get here overnight -- it took real focus and teamwork, but it’s what our patients deserve.”

That success is being noted by others in the state, including the S.C. Hospital Association (SCHA)

“We are so proud of KershawHealth and the dedication (it shows) in continuously improving the quality of care and safety of (its) patients,” SCHA Vice President of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Lorri Gibbons said in the release. “This is an exciting achievement that reflects the strong commitment and perseverance of (its) staff.”

In related news, Gunn reported at Monday’s meeting that Collier negotiated a revised contract with Press Ganey, the firm which conducts patient satisfaction surveys.

“It not only saves … what was going to be an at least $30,000 increase in fees to conduct those surveys, but (she) got that back to, basically, where we were to where we are today, in terms of what we’re paying,” Gunn said, saying that Press Ganey will be adding many new features at the lower cost -- features he said will allow nurses in the emergency department will be able to get “real-time” feedback. “So, we can get feedback from patients, intervene, that way we’re not hearing about a problem several weeks after they’ve been discharged.”

One of the larger pieces of the strategic plan focuses on orthopedics. Gunn reported that KershawHealth has signed an agreement with Orthopedic Advantage to help facilitate the creation of a “top-level” joint program working collaboratively with orthopedic surgeons in the hospital.

“With the goal of, ultimately, becoming Joint Commission specialty certified -- a Blue Cross program of distinction for joint replacement … that program will launch on July 21 (Monday) and will take us a few months to work through all the processes,” Gunn said.

The open portion of Monday’s meeting lasted only about 20 minutes, but trustees spent what was expected to be up to two and a half hours in executive session hearing presentations from three law firms vying to be KershawHealth’s and the board’s legal counsel.

The three firms are Nexsen Pruet, the healthcare system’s current law firm; Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough; and Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein.

Nexsen Pruet has served as KershawHealth’s legal counsel since 1993.

In other business Monday:

• Chair Karen Eckford asked trustees to consider holding some of their board meetings in different parts of the county. She said it would serve as a way to educate and discuss the strategic plan with members of the public who might not otherwise attend board meetings. Trustee Derial Ogburn said he liked the idea, but wanted to make sure residents around the chosen locations are encouraged to attend. Trustee Paul Napper also asked -- now that the board has gone back to meeting twice a month -- if, due to his schedule, one of the two meetings could be held at 8 a.m. instead of 5:30 or 6 p.m. Several other trustees, however, said meeting at that time would be difficult due to their work schedules. Trustees will take up both suggestions at their next meeting, scheduled for July 28.

• Trustees agreed to wait a legally allowable 20 days to vote on proposed bylaw changes dealing with trustee attendance at meetings and the removal of trustees when they move out of the township from which they were appointed.


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