River Region gets high marks Patients rank heart, surgery

Published 11:43 am Wednesday, September 14, 2011

More than 95 percent of patients treated at River Region Medical Center in 2010 for heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care gave the hospital favorable ratings — one of three Mississippi hospitals and 163 nationwide to achieve the mark, according to results released today.

The hospital on U.S. 61 North was recognized along with 405 hospitals and critical access facilities that earned “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” status from The Joint Commission in its annual report for 2011. The Chicago-based nonprofit is the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care. It accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.

“Today, the public expects transparency in the reporting of performance at the hospitals where they receive care, and The Joint Commission is shining a light on the top performing hospitals such as River Region Medical Center that have achieved excellence on a number of vital measures of quality of care,” said Dr. Mark R. Chassin, commission president.

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Hospitals recognized in the report equaled or exceeded 95 percent favorable ratings on at least one of four “key quality measures” in the organization’s report, titled “Improving America’s Hospitals.” Each accountability measure reported must have more than 30 eligible cases or patients. Matching River Region with marks above 95 percent in all four measures were Wesley Health System in Hattiesburg, and VA Medical Center in Jackson. River Region and Wesley are owned by Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems.

“We understand that what matters most to our patients is safe, effective care,” said River Region CEO Doug Sills. “That’s why River Region has made a commitment to accreditation and to evidence-based care processes. We have earned this recognition through the dedication and skill of our medical staff, nurses and other clinicians who care for our patients each day. We are proud to be one of the only three hospitals in Mississippi and 163 U.S. hospitals to receive this honor and distinction.”

The commission accredits more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S. Each quality measure contains within it certain quality goals that add up to a high score — such as whether aspirin is given when a heart attack patient is admitted or discharged and whether blood cultures are taken from pneumonia patients in intensive care.

The 405 hospitals that reported a top rank in a quality measure comprised 14 percent of all facilities accredited by the commission that reported information — the highest percentage since the four measures were first tracked in 2002. In all, the 11-member commission accredits more than 3,000 hospitals.

Results from commission surveys are reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the general public to compare performance levels from one hospital to another.