South County Hospital received the highest grade of 5-Stars from the recently published Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The hospital rating system was created by Medicare to simplify complex criteria that measures healthcare quality so that healthcare consumers can make informed decisions. South County Hospital was the only hospital in Rhode Island to receive a five-star rating –the highest—ranking it among the top 2.2 percent of the 4,599 hospitals surveyed nationwide.
“Being the only hospital in Rhode Island to receive the five-star rating reassures us, and healthcare consumers, that South County Health is achieving the high goals we set for safety, quality of care and the overall patient experience,” said Lou Giancola, South County Health president/CEO.
Based on the CMS results, the clinical areas that South County Health did best in were safety of care, readmission and patient experience, three areas of significant importance, while still achieving high grades in the other areas of healthcare.
Safety of Care
To ensure patient safety, South County Health conducts daily leadership “huddles” to provide an opportunity to discuss any safety issues that occurred 24 hours prior, and concerns that could arise in the next 24 hours. The “huddles” are part of the criteria to make South County Health a High Reliability Organization.
Patients receive continued support beyond discharge, making sure they are equipped to be successful at home. One way we do this is by calling patients once they are home to make sure that they have the support they need. A multidisciplinary team, including case managers, care managers, pharmacists and physicians help patients thrive at home. These patients are followed through a continuum of care in an effort to ensure they recover successfully at home, without the need for readmission.
We continually look for ways to improve the patient and family experience through our volunteer program. A volunteer meets with each patient to make sure that patients and their families feel comfortable during their stay at the hospital. If the patient or family has concerns, the volunteer makes sure that the concern is addressed immediately.
Staff consistently receive feedback regarding Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores. A patient advisory council is made up of patients who meet regularly with Hospital administrators and healthcare providers to relay their experiences within the South County Health system. Using this dialogue, we are better able to understand the patient perspective and balance the clinical demands with the interpersonal care.
“It is nice to get accolades,” Mr. Giancola said, “But it’s even better to be part of a system that’s improving the health of an entire community.”