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Hard work sparks ‘hot’ award

By Staff | Sep 19, 2010

Generally, wearing a T-shirt to work isn’t recommended if you’re trying to dress for success.

On Fridays, however, employees at United Hospital District in Blue Earth have been donning T-shirts with the words “Fire Starter” during the month of September.

It’s a sign of accomplishment; to celebrate receiving the Studer Group’s monthly award for achieving and maintaining high levels of employee and patient satisfaction.

“The services and quality of care we provide are second to none in the nation. That took the work and effort of every single employee,” says Jeff Lang, UHD administrator.

More than 250 T-shirts were printed and handed out to all employees, including UHD board members.

The Studer Group is a health care consulting firm that works with hundreds of hospitals and health care organizations to improve clinical, service and operations outcomes.

United Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility, was chosen among 350 hospitals nationally for the honor.

Cande Arends, chief nursing officer at UHD, says the hospital received the monthly recognition on its first-ever application.

“UHD has changed the way we deliver services to our patients. We used to wait for patients to put a call light on when they needed something, we don’t anymore. Once an hour we check in with our patients,” she says.

Lang says “the culture” at UHD is to give patients the highest quality of service or refer them to another facility if they are unable to do so.

“Quality is not a department, it is a way of life. It is core to UHD’s being,” he says.

On Thursday, Lang and Arends will be attending a convention in Atlanta to accept the award.

Arends says UHD employees will be able to watch the presentation ceremony by way of webcast.

“The award will be for UHD to keep, a reminder of the excellent work they are doing,” says George Scarborough of the Studer Group.

Arends says no decision has been made yet on how to display the fire-flame statue.

“We are definitely going to have it out for the public to see,” she says.

The organization’s success in making changes to meet its mission and attain specified goals are measured in five different areas:

• People Pillar:

Employee turnover was reduced from 20 percent in 2007 to 11 percent in 2009 and is currently at 6.6 percent for 2010. In 2007, total nursing turnover was 0 percent for the year.

Rates for employee satisfaction also significantly increased each of the last three worker perspective reports.

UHD has a 0 percent job vacancy rate, receiving 150 applications for a recent open position at the medical center.

• Service Pillar:

Patient satisfaction for inpatient and ED (emergency department) went from the 61 and 77 percentiles respectively in 2006 to a current 97 and 95 for this year.

Also, year-end satisfaction scores have ranked above the 90 percentile in ED and the 95 percentile for inpatient each year since 2008.

• Quality Pillar:

With “zero” being the goal to achieve, UHD has attained that in many areas.

In the last seven quarters there were zero surgical site infections.

Since 2009, there have been zero re-admissions within 30 days and zero-skin breakdowns.

Also, the inpatient fall rate has been 0.06 per 100 patient days the last two years, that is 10 times lower than the national average.

From 2005 to 2010, medication variances averages 0.09 per 1,000 doses, or 50 times better than national averages.

• Financial Pillar:

UHD has been listed several times on Modern Healthcare’s 25 most profitable critical access hospitals list since 2005 and has been a LarsonAllen “Gold Standard” facility each year since 2006.

In 2009, construction on the clinic at hospital campus and renovation work began at the $15 million project.

A new $4 million adolescent treatment center was built in Winnebago and opened in September of this year.

UHD used $10 million in cash to help pay for both projects.

• Growth Pillar:

Clinic volumes have increased nearly 29 percent from 2008 to 2009, and the trend is continuing this year.

As a result, net revenue has averaged a 9 percent increase over the last three years.