Published on March 07, 2019

Quality & Patient Safety Continues To Be the Focus at Medical Center in Alpena

A recent analysis published earlier this week by Kaiser Health News identified 800 hospitals that would be paid less by Medicare in 2019 because of high rates of infections and patient injuries. MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena was named to the list.

The report is part of a Medicare payment reduction program, the Hospital Acquired Condition (HAC) Reduction Program, with a goal to lower the number of reasonably preventable conditions that patients develop during hospital stays. The report referred to in the analysis was related to performance between January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2017.

“While Centers for Medicare Services Hospital Compare or related public data is one of many ways to measure quality, we caution using these reports, which feature old data, as the only mechanism to monitor quality,” said Chuck Sherwin, president, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena. “Information for the HAC report is calculated by Medicare itself, using claims data, which do not fully reflect the details of a patient's history, course of care and clinical risk factors. It also does not reflect today’s performance.”

Sherwin continued, “Quality in patient care refers to clinical outcomes and what we can do to make a difference in the lives of our patients. Whether it is new treatments, procedures or recalibrating our efforts in identified areas of weakness, we’re making continuous improvements in procedures and processes so we can always be as safe and effective as possible.”

Since the reporting period, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena has improved its surveillance process resulting in more robust self-reporting of infection data. This has resulted in an overall decrease in infections. Specifically: 

  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) – the Medical Center is performing at or better than median due to a focus on evaluating the need for and removing urinary catheters that are no longer needed.
  • Central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) – the Medical Center is performing in the top decile with zero reported infections in 2018.
  • C-difficile – this is a type of infection that continues to be an issue nationally. The Medical Center has implemented a new test for identifying this type of infection which is more likely to identify these. The Medical Center also has a strong antibiotic stewardship program.
  • Hand hygiene – the Medical Center has implemented a hand hygiene compliance program, resulting in a 10 percent overall improvement.

“Raising the bar keeps our teams committed to reaching our ongoing goals. The hard work is paying off as our current data shows,” said Sherwin. “These efforts have resulted in better outcomes for our patients and have helped improve our overall performance. In fact, such outcomes have been recognized by The Leapfrog Group, a national patient safety watchdog, who most recently awarded Alpena a ‘B’ in patient safety for the Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade.”

With a commitment to its patients, MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena has several quality measures in place including monthly leadership safety rounds, ongoing physician engagement, support through the Medical Center’s affiliation with Michigan Medicine, the implementation of the electronic medical record and daily safety huddles with staff and leadership.

“We are committed to being transparent, and most importantly, when it relates to patient safety and the quality of health care we provide. We submit all reportable infections and complications on an ongoing basis, participate in patient safety improvement programs and work with staff to improve techniques and training,” said Sherwin. “We are very proud of our continuing and proactive efforts to reduce the incidence of hospital acquired infections.”

Sherwin continued, “When you need medical care, you want confirmation that you are in good hands. We're confident that we are making a measurable difference for our patients. They are the reason we focus on quality.”