Anniston hospital earns national recognition for quality care
by Patrick McCreless
pmccreless@annistonstar.com
Nov 01, 2013 | 4628 views |  0 comments | 86 86 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Nurses look over some charts at one of the nurses station at Stringfellow Hospital on Friday. Nurses are from left; Charleen Wells, Bonnie Williams, Melissa Mattox and Gina Ponder. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
Nurses look over some charts at one of the nurses station at Stringfellow Hospital on Friday. Nurses are from left; Charleen Wells, Bonnie Williams, Melissa Mattox and Gina Ponder. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)
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Stringfellow Memorial Hospital recently earned national recognition for maintaining quality control measures to improve patient care.

The Anniston hospital on Wednesday was named a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by the Joint Commission, the main accrediting body of hospitals in the United States. Stringfellow was the only hospital in the five-county area to receive the designation, which indicates the hospital is using evidence-based clinical techniques shown to improve care for heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.

"We're really excited as a facility," Matthew Banks, chief nursing executive for Stringfellow, said of the recognition.

The Joint Commission began recognizing hospitals with the Top Performer designation in 2011 as a way to improve overall health care in the country. Participating hospitals are required to submit their clinical data to the Joint Commission on a monthly basis.

Stringfellow is one of 1,099 hospitals recognized this year, a total that represents 33 percent of all Joint Commission-accredited hospitals. According to the Joint Commission's website, the nonprofit accredits approximately 82 percent of the country's hospitals. Hospitals need accreditation to receive operating licenses and Medicare reimbursements from the federal government. Stringfellow is accredited by the Joint Commission.

Rosemary Blackmon, vice president of the Alabama Hospital Association, said it is important that the Joint Commission has recognized Stringfellow for its efforts.

"It's definitely a sign that they are striving to meet and exceed national standards," Blackmon said. "It shows that hospitals with that recognition are continuing to get better and better."

Banks said the process to earn the Top Performer title requires a faculty-wide commitment.

"It starts when the patient approaches upon submission and follows all the way through and ends when they leave," Banks said.

According to a Joint Commission press release, to become a Top Performer, a hospital must meet several criteria, including achieving a cumulative performance of 95 percent or more for all reported accountability measures, such as giving aspirin at arrival for heart attack patients. A 95 percent score means a hospital provided evidence-based practice 95 times out of 100 opportunities to provide the practice.

"We have to have a huge buy-in from physicians ... to make sure they've got the patient on the correct pathway and follow that pathway straight through it," said Lisa Stone, director of quality at Stringfellow.

Stringfellow Memorial, owned by Florida-based Health Management Associates, is a 125-bed, acute care hospital with a staff of approximately 170 physicians in 30 medical specialties.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.

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