Fort Loudoun Medical Center has been recognized twice recently in health care industry reviews.
For hospital staffers, it's a feat for which to be proud.
The hospital won "most improved" for recovery information in Studer Group's Excellence in Patient Care Award and was named one of the nation's top performers in pneumonia and surgical care.
Though it's not the first time Fort Loudoun has been recognized in the industry, it's the first time it has received these awards.
"It's awesome. It's really great that we can be recognized by our peers outside of our community because this is a national type of award that we received, so this is a big deal for us," Ashley Hankla, marketing and public relations coordinator with FLMC, said.
"Being a smaller community hospital, sometimes we're not looked at on those ranks," she said. "So, sometimes it's hard for us to convey that to people. We're happy we can share that because it's just a big deal."
For the "most improved" award, patients rated recovery information they received after being discharged from the hospital.
"When people are discharged from the hospital they are usually given a set of instructions. Say you come in with pneumonia and you get better. Well, when you leave, it's like a take-home kit," Hankla said. "That's a big deal because it takes a lot of time to prepare a discharge plan. Every single patient who comes through that door has to have one because we don't want to just treat you. It's a continuum of care."
Hankla said the recognition is unique.
"They are all equally important to us, but that one is strictly from our patients' mouths," she said. "That's our community, people we treated, telling us that we're awesome."
The 27-question survey was conducted by Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems, a national standardized survey tool used to measure adult inpatient perception of the quality of hospital care.
FLMC received the award in the "0-100 beds" category for the amount its scores increased from baseline to current performance on the HCAHPS questions relating to how well post-discharge information was communicated.
"Sometimes it's hard to get a good score because most of the time people don't care. They just want to go and they are sick and they want to get better. Then they don't want you to call them and ask about it. It's very understandable. We have no control over that," Hankla said. "You just have to have outstanding ratings on those questions.
"We just hired two new case management staff members to our team because this is such a big deal," she said. "Our population of geriatric patients is much higher than a lot of other hospitals due to the nature of the age of our population in the community."
Scores are publicly posted four times a year at http://www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov
"What happens after patients are discharged can matter as much as what happens when they are hospitalized," Quint Studer, founder of Studer Group, said in a press release. "Most hospitals make an effort to see that patients are well taken care of at home and that they know what symptoms to look out for, but the best ones put systems in place to ensure these things happen every day with every patient. It's about making sure the patient understands. And it's about consistency."
The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America, recognized exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for pneumonia and surgical care.
FLMC is one of 620 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction.
"We always want to talk about any awards and recognitions we receive because times are getting tougher, and you're asked to do more with less. Everyone knows that in every facet of everything, especially in heath care, there are a lot of people around us," Hankla said.
The ratings are based on an aggregation of accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission during the 2011 calendar year.
"Setting quality standards for safe and effective patient care is something we strive for every day at Fort Loudoun Medical Center. The fact that we are being recognized nationally for our continued achievements says a lot about our physicians, employees and advanced technology," Jeffrey Feike, president and chief administrative office of FLMC, said.