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Southern Hills Medical Center maintains top performing status

For the fifth consecutive year, Southern Hills Medical Center in Las Vegas has made the list of top performing hospitals compiled by the independent agency that accredits the most U.S. health care organizations.

Fourteen of the 27 Nevada hospitals that submitted data in 2014 to The Joint Commission attained top performing status, including seven other facilities in Southern Nevada: Sunrise, MountainView, Valley and Desert Springs hospitals in Las Vegas; Strategic Behavioral Health’s Red Rock facility; the Spring Mountain Treatment Center in Las Vegas; and Mesa View Regional Hospital in Mesquite.

The commission’s annual report, “America’s Hospitals: Improving Quality and Safety,” summarizes data on 49 accountability measures reported by more than 3,300 commission-accredited facilities in 2014.

The data show how well hospitals are performing on treating conditions such as heart attack, pneumonia and stroke.

Southern Hills CEO Adam Rudd said he can take no credit for the hospital’s success because he’s only been on the job for two months, but the recognition shows the dedication of his staff.

“It speaks volumes to the work of not just the medical staff but to everybody in the organization,” Rudd said. “It’s confirmation that the things that we do every day are working.”

This year’s report includes the most diverse set of data ever collected by the commission, an independent nonprofit that accredits nearly 21,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.

The commission used 49 accountability measures linked to positive patient outcomes. The list of top performers decreased, from 1,224 in 2013 to 1,043 last year, because new criteria were added to the program. Last year, Southern Nevada had 15 facilities on the list, but only 14 in the entire state are represented this year.

Dr. Mark Chassin, the commission’s president, said health care providers are being asked to do more to meet a new set of standards, and the hospitals deserve credit for their commitment to quality and safety. In addition to the 1,244 top performers, 665 hospitals missed by only one accountability measure, which means they are close to achieving the designation.

“As we continue to raise the bar on our expectations on accredited hospitals, they are rising to meet those new expectations,” Chassin said. “We apply very strict criteria before we add any new measures into our program.”

Each of the top performers met two 95 percent performance thresholds related to such areas as heart failure, surgical care, children’s asthma and perinatal care. The hospitals provided evidence-based care at least 95 times out of every 100 opportunities, the report says.

For example, heart attack patients should receive aspirin upon arrival and at discharge, other medications to reduce their blood pressure and thin their blood, and procedures to open their clogged heart arteries. The commission’s report measures how well the hospitals are following those protocols.

The public reporting of quality care measures and patient satisfaction surveys is designed to improve the delivery of health care. The commission’s ratings are among the most respected because the criteria used is statistically valid, thoroughly vetted and consistent, hospital officials say.

The commission’s study comes two weeks after grades were assigned to hospitals based on safety and quality-of-care standards by the Leapfrog Group, a health care employer-funded nonprofit coalition that advocates for greater quality and safety. All 13 of the Southern Nevada hospitals received passing grades, and Southern Hills and Desert Springs earned a “A” overall.

“When you look at the history of accountability measures, the reason they are brought up is because of their importance to people,” said Jan Olivas, the vice president for quality at Mountainview Hospital. “We want to make sure we’re doing to right thing at the right time to the right people.

“Ultimately, it’s the patients who reap the benefits of that.”

Contact Steven Moore at smoore@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563.

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