Kalispell Regional Healthcare hospitals were recently recognized by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for delivering high-quality care, including Kalispell Regional Medical Center making a short list of institutions to earn an overall quality top rating.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded KRMC an Overall Hospital Quality five-star rating, making the hospital one of only three in Montana and 293 out of more than 4,500 hospitals nationwide to receive the highest rating. The others in Montana are St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings.
North Valley Hospital in Whitefish received a five-star rating for patient experience, determined by the results of a national survey asking patients about a recent hospital stay. NVH also received a four-star overall quality rating and consistently ranks well above the national average in most categories.
The HealthCenter ranked better than the national average for low readmission rates. KRH notes that returning to the hospital for unplanned care disrupts patients’ lives, increases their risk of harmful events like health care-associated infections and costs more. Hospitals that provide high-quality care can keep patients from returning and reduce their stay if they have to come back.
“The CMS Star Rating is one of several quality ratings tools that rank hospitals on patient experience, processes, outcomes, patient safety, and cost,” Dr. Doug Nelson, KRH’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “We’re very proud of our high rankings; however, the quality measures are also tools that help us understand how we can continue to improve.”
The CMS rating system reports on quality measures for more than 4,500 hospitals around the country. It was created through the efforts of CMS in collaboration with organizations representing consumers, hospitals, doctors, employers, accrediting organizations and other federal agencies. The ratings are determined by measures of many aspects of quality care, including mortality, readmission, safety, patient experience, efficiency, timeliness and effectiveness of care.
The rating comes on the heels of other national honors for KRMC over the past two years, including Becker’s Healthcare 2018 edition of 100 Great Community Hospitals, the IBM Watson Health top 100 hospital list, multiple recognitions and advanced certifications from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, and others.
NVH was also designated a Baby Friendly Hospital, a project the Birth Center and NVH employees worked toward for more than five years.
KRH has multiple initiatives underway that seek to improve the quality of care provided to patients. One is the Comprehensive Primary Care Plus program, which has been implemented in nine KRH primary care clinics and focuses on improved patient access, quality of care and reductions in cost of care by providing case management, and access to integrated services such as diabetes management and behavioral health within the primary care clinic, emphasizing a broad array of quality measures that indicate better health outcomes for the patients and the overall population.
“For us, measuring quality and outcomes for our patients is not about showing how good we are,” Dr. Nelson said. “It’s about increasing years of life and the quality of those years for the entire population we serve.”