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Company ranks hospital in top 100 again

December 19, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

A Chicago-area company that monitors health care has ranked Washington County Hospital among the top 100 hospitals of its size in the nation for 2002.

It's the fourth time in the past 10 years that the hospital has achieved that distinction, hospital officials said.

The firm, Solucient, collects data in eight categories, ranging from mortality rates and complication rates to productivity and profitability, they said. The top 100 list recognizes short-term, acute-care hospitals that achieved overall performance in all eight categories.

Solucient compares the quality of care, the costs and the results and recognizes the top 100, said Deborah Addo, vice president for patient-care services.

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"It's quite amazing that a community hospital in a region still considered by many to be rural would get that recognition," Addo said. "It's quite remarkable."

Addo said the ranking reflected the hospital's commitment to hiring and training "good people. It's the collective team that has pulled this off."

The hospital was compared with others across the country that have between 250 and 400 beds, according to John Aulls, vice president for clinical support services.

"It definitely increases morale," Aulls said. "Everybody is proud to be a part of this, and we're proud of them."

Solucient gave Washington County Hospital top marks in 1997, 1998 and 2000. The hospital's orthopedic program also was recognized in 1999. The hospital is one of only 68 in the country to be ranked in the top 100 four or more times in 10 years.

"We are very proud of this distinction because it reflects the hard work and dedication to caring that has been a hallmark of Washington County Hospital since it was founded almost 100 years ago," James Hamill, president and CEO of Washington County Health System, said in a statement.

Solucient analyzed data from 6,000 hospitals and 12 million patients to compile its ranking, the statement said.

Being ranked in the top 100 makes the hospital a benchmark for others who seek information for improving their own methods, Addo said. For example, several organizations have used the hospital's Total Joint Program as a model, she said.

Though the hospital has been ranked at the top before, Addo said it's always a surprise when the announcement is made - "even more so this year," she said, "because they look at cost and revenue; and we did not have a good financial year."

And the hospital staff doesn't plan to rest on its laurels.

"We're making improvements," Aulls said. "We always are looking to improve patient satisfaction and care to the patient.

"We're always being compared with eight to 10 other Maryland hospitals. It's not like it's a contest. It really is doing what you do and doing it well."

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