NBHH receives five-star rating in patient survey

It isn’t every day that an organization can boast that it received top marks in every category of rating by its customers. It’s even more difficult for a hospital, where decisions involving the health, safety, comfort and well-being of its patients take place during every moment of a patient’s stay in the facility.

So it was a source of great pride this week when the staff at North Big Horn Hospital learned that it received a five-star rating from its patients on its most recent HCAHPS (the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) patient satisfaction survey. The rating puts the hospital in the top 10 percent of hospitals rated on the five measures.

Chief of Nursing Tina Toner announced the achievement during the hospital board’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday night.Gold star rating with five golden stars

“This is a really big achievement,” said Toner. “We did really well. It’s a team effort. It’s all about quality. Our board supports that and Rick (Schroeder) supports that; it’s a part of every meeting and everything we do. This is something we’ve been really focusing on and I’m really excited that we’re starting to get these kinds of results.”

The survey is required by CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for all hospitals in the United States. The ratings are based on telephone surveys of patients taken shortly after their discharge from the hospital. Patients are contacted by a professional and impartial survey company and the results are published by CMS, offering a comparison of quality of inpatient hospital services nationwide.

In its most recent survey, NBHH received the highest satisfaction ratings possible on five categories for which it was rated. Those categories included communication between patient and provider, communication between nurses and patient, responsiveness of staff, how thoroughly instructions about medication were communicated upon discharge and an overall rating of the facility.

“This is really exciting for us, especially when you take into consideration that the only scores that counted for us were excellent scores,” said Toner. “The question about responsiveness is really special to me because every time we answered a call they said we satisfied their immediate needs. It takes a lot to do that. It takes everyone doing their job. Also, receiving the overall rating was huge because that means they would recommend our hospital and our overall services to others.”

In other matters, CEO Rick Schroeder reviewed the district’s monthly financial statement, noting that the district is exceeding budgeted revenues in most areas.

He also reported that a contract has been offered to a well-established physician’s assistant currently practicing in the Big Horn Basin. He said, though the contract has not been signed, she has verbally accepted the position, and will replace retiring nurse practitioner Mary Freund. He said the PA has many years of experience in women’s health and family practice.

Toner provided, on behalf of New Horizons Care Center Director of Nursing Traci Harrison, who was absent from the meeting, an update on several remodeling projects that are currently under way. She said the entryway painting project is now complete at the Care Center and the installation of new carpet and windows is slated to begin soon.

She also noted that the Care Center was named number two in the nation in its efforts to reduce the use of anti-psychotic drugs with its patients. She said Harrison told her that, though the Center’s record of only 4 percent is well below the national average, its goal is zero percent.

Toner also reported that the district received a new ambulance chassis this month. The vehicle has already been fitted with the district’s existing medical unit and is fully functioning.

By Patti Carpenter