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San Luis Valley Health garners esteemed award in reducing hospital readmissions

The Colorado Hospital Association (CHA) has recognized San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center, along with Conejos County Hospital, with the prestigious honor of being named as top hospitals across the state when it comes to reducing hospital readmissions. 

The award for both hospitals represents the vast amount of progress that has taken place over the past two years in making the organization a safer healthcare organization that is dedicated to excellence and serving all of its patient’s healthcare needs.

As participants in the nationwide Hospital Engagement Network Project over the last 24 months, both the Regional Medical Center and Conejos County Hospital have been exceptional in multiple facets of hospital care, achieving unparalleled results in nine different categories.  Those results are as follows:

  • Greater than 40% reduction in patient falls
  • Greater than 40% decrease in OB adverse events
  • Greater than 20% reduction in readmissions
  • Maintaining zero pressure ulcers for more than six months
  • Maintaining zero ventilator-associated events for more than six months
  • Maintaining zero venous thromboembolisms for more than six months
  • Maintaining zero central line infection for more than six months
  • Maintaining zero catheter-associated urinary tract infections for more than six months

“It’s clear to achieve this type of reduction takes teamwork. The effort of our clinical team has made a clear difference in our outcomes. These efforts save money for the patient and the healthcare system and improve the care for our community” said SLV Health CEO Konnie Martin. 

 The journey to the results achieved by both hospitals was a commitment from countless team members, spearheaded by Marie Henderson, SLV Health’s Manager of Patient Support Services.  Upon receiving the news that the hours of hard work had paid off, Henderson was quick to note the dedication and engagement exhibited by the many nurses who were central to the end results.

To achieve these results, that dedication and engagement was in place from the start.  SLV Health, and specifically the inpatient medical and surgical teams, took on the challenge of significantly transforming the way medical care is provided to its patients. 

“Our reduction of infections required establishing step by step protocols for medical procedures, educating staff and requiring individual accountability to ensure that our patients get the best care for each and every procedure,” said Henderson.  “The nurses just embraced it and did it.  It was a huge commitment.”

The reduction in readmissions involved a similar process.  The entire medical team, including the patient and their family, were given education at the time of discharge to make sure the patient and their caregivers understood what happened while they were in the hospital and what the best plan of care would be when they returned home or to an aftercare facility. 

This greatly reduces the chances of a patient having to come back due to a complication.  Henderson’s team would then reinforce that education with follow-up calls to ask how patients were doing and to encourage follow up with the patient’s primary care medical team. 

That commitment to excellent practices drew the attention and praise of Steven Summer, President and CEO of CHA.  Summer noted that SLV Health’s participation in the national project has helped to avoid harm for the patients served by SLV Health and has aided in reducing healthcare costs.

The approach from SLV Health that includes both patients and their family members as partners in their care is a top defense against unwanted and unneeded hospitalizations.

“These are some of the statistics that I think a lot of other organizations, not just in Colorado, but throughout the country would be envious of,” commented Dr. Greg McAulliffe, Chief Medical Officer of SLV Health.  “We have an awful lot to be proud of and it is because of the hard work of our team and the providers.”

These efforts are a part of the mission of San Luis Valley Health to be the medical home for our patients.  This means caring for patients as a whole person and supporting their efforts to be healthy from our community providers to and after any inpatient care that they may require. 

The organization plans to continue these excellent practices in its everyday operations and invites you to come rediscover what SLV Health is all about.