Baldrige Hospitals Save More Lives and Are Stronger Financially

Posted by Dawn Marie Bailey

I was struck by a quote in a recent Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) article: “Health care can lead the way to a new era in quality.” And I believe that Baldrige Award-winning health care organizations are the ones leading that way.

The article, which featured Southcentral Foundation, a 2011 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner, noted that for the first time in history three health care organizations were honored as national role models in a single year. What makes the honor so interesting is that they represent very diverse organizations: a large, urban, integrated system headquartered in Detroit; a 93-bed nonprofit hospital in Indiana’s suburbs; and an Alaskan health care organization that covers over 100,000 miles, with some patients reached only by plane.

Baldrige health care organizations have lower rates of mortality and complications, higher profit margins, and higher improvement levels than the 100 Top Hospitals (top 3% nationwide), according to a 2010 Thomson Reuters study.

In addition, since 2002, Baldrige Award-winning health care organizations have demonstrated decreasing mortality rates, rising revenue and market share, more satisfied patients, decreasing employee turnover and vacancy rates, more satisfied employees and physicians, reductions in days in accounts receivable and patient length of stay, increasing training and volunteer hours, and increasing charity care.

For example

  • Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital has seen a 24% reduction over 3 years in its risk-adjusted mortality rate, exceeding the top-decile level for its six-county region.
  • Mercy Health System reduced its mortality resulting from congestive heart failure by 38% over 4 years.
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton reported a 95% reduction in mortality resulting from acute myocardial infarction and a nearly 61% reduction in mortality resulting from congestive heart failure over 4 years.
  • AtlantiCare reported an 11% compound annual growth rate in system revenues for 9 years. This represents a 133% overall improvement or nearly 17% annual improvement rate.
  • Heartland Health was in the top 10% of U.S. hospitals for total margin and operating margin in 2009 (when it received the Baldrige award) and has maintained Moody’s and Fitch bond ratings of “A” and “A2.”
  • Henry Ford Health Center’s evidenced-based global “No Harm Campaign” is a national best practice, according to IHI. The health center’s performance in relation to overall global harm has improved from approximately 60 harm events per 1,000 patients in the first quarter of 2008 to 40 harm events per 1,000 patients in the second quarter of 2011.
  • Schneck Medical Center scored 100 percent in the second quarter of 2011 on 17 of 22 core measures reported for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • Despite operating in one of the most economically depressed regions of the country, Henry Ford Health System has maintained an “A1” bond rating from Moody’s, with a stable outlook for the next five years. It also has maintained approximately 100 days cash on hand for the past four years, a measure comparable to the level of its best-performing competitor.
  • Southcentral Foundation has achieved significant improvements in same-day access to care, which has led to a 50 percent decrease in costly emergency room and urgent care visits; a decrease in specialty care by about 65 percent; a decrease in primary care visits by 20 percent; and a decrease in hospital admissions by 53 percent.

I think the path is clear to that new era in quality. It’s the path that Baldrige health care organizations are already on.

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