Doctors Hospital on Joint Commission's top quality list

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Doctors Hospital in Augusta is on a top quality list for hospitals for consistently following best practices in 2010, the Joint Commission announced Wednesday.

Joint Commission, an accrediting body for hospitals and other health care providers, released a “Top Performers” list of 405 hospitals that followed its quality measures at least 95 percent of the time. Doctors was one of 13 in Georgia, a list that includes East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro. Doctors was cited in all four of the areas for which it submits data – heart attack care, heart failure care, pneumonia care and surgical care.

“I’m very proud of all of them because it takes a lot of commitment on the part of physicians and clinical staff to make these happen,” said Karen Swim, the chief nursing officer for Doctors.

Because of the number of physicians involved and the care environment, meeting the standards in surgical care might be the toughest, she said.

Small and rural hospitals are probably “overrepresented” on the list and academic medical centers were “underrepresented,” said Dr. Mark Chassin, the president of the Joint Commission. While larger hospitals have more cases to contend with, they should also have more resources, he said. But Swim said smaller hospitals might be at more of a disadvantage.

“The fewer cases you have, the less room for error you would have,” she said.

Joint Commission looked at a number of quality of care measures, such as whether heart attack patients were given aspirin on arrival or whether surgery patients got an antibiotic an hour before the incision.

“They’re the best of the best quality measures,” Chassin said, because they are based on evidence that they result in better outcomes. More insurers, including Medicare, are using quality measures to decide payment, he said.

Next year, hospitals will be required to meet quality measures 85 percent of the time or more to get accredited. Currently, 121 of its 3,800 hospitals do not, Chassin said. Joint Commission did not release that list.


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