Mount Desert Island Hospital celebrated its third consecutive year as one of the top Hospitals in the country for overall patient satisfaction, and highlighted the importance of quality improvement in its recent past and future during its August 1st Annual Meeting.
“Quality has always been central to everything we’ve done, and this year has been no exception,” remarked President and CEO Art Blank. “We’re very proud that we’ve been recognized for the third consecutive year for the overall satisfaction of our patients.” The Hospital received the honor from Avatar International, Inc., a consulting firm that conducts patient satisfaction survey of hospitals nationwide.
Mr. Blank also applauded the Hospital’s performance in a recent Maine Hospital Association clinical quality study. “MDI Hospital was recognized for performing better than 97 percent of hospitals nationwide in the care of heart attack and heart failure patients,” explained Mr. Blank.
Another example of the Hospital’s commitment to quality, explained Mr. Blank, was the creation of the position of Vice President of Quality Management.
Ruth Lyons, a member of the Hospital’s nursing staff for 25 years, was recently promoted to the position. “Ruth brings a unique mix of experience and dedication to this new Senior Management position,” said Mr. Blank.
The Hospital’s on-going quality improvement effort will include participation in the Institute for Health Improvement’s “100,000 Lives” campaign. Hospitals that participate in the campaign will commit to implementing quality improvement changes designed to save 100,000 lives per year.
Mr. Blank also reported that, with the addition of a new electronic clinical charting system, the Hospital moved one step closer to the implementation of electronic medical records.
Keynote speaker Dennis Shubert, M.D, Ph.D., Director of the Dirigo Agency’s Maine Quality Forum emphasized the importance of using data in the quality improvement process. “You can not improve what you can not measure,” said Dr. Shubert.
Dr. Shubert stressed that safety and quality “resides in the details and teamwork. Every health care organization must focus on quality and safety first,” added Dr. Shubert.
Dr. Shubert also expressed his appreciation and admiration for the work of the medical community on Mount Desert Island.
The growth in services in order to meet patient needs were the highlights of the Treasurer’s Report, given by Wendy Fielding, Vice President of Finance and Support Services. Ms. Fielding reported an increase of over 50 percent in the volume of Behavioral Health Center visits, and an increase of 43 percent in the volume of orthopedic patients. “The basic story for MDI Hospital is the successful continuation of expansion of services to our community,” remarked Ms. Fielding.
“This winter we added neurology services at our Trenton Health Center, improving access to an important specialty service,” added Ms. Fielding
“With the opening of the Cadillac Mountain Medical Building in May, we were able both to enhance patient privacy and to improve the office flow for several of our physician practices,” she said.
“Our brand new obstetrics unit is completed and the new space will officially open for business later this month,” added Ms. Fielding. “It is thanks to the generosity and commitment of our community that we were able to make this improvement.”
While the Hospital experienced a significant growth of services, it was also challenged financially, according to Ms. Fielding. “Chronic underpayments for services rendered to Medicaid recipients meant that the State’s IOU to us increased,” reported Ms. Fielding.
“On-going problems with Medicaid’s processing software resulted in our need to reserve for the potential that we may never get paid accurately for all of our claims,” she explained.
Ms. Fielding also pointed to the expansion of the Hospital tax, a method used to address the State’s budget shortfall, as another of the Hospital’s financial challenges. “All of these items had a negative impact on the Hospital financially. Even so, we provided nearly $1.8 million in free and uncompensated care to our community, and with the generous support of our neighbors, we were able to fund several important local services and facilities improvements.”
Advocacy and its role in ensuring the strength of the state’s hospitals was the theme of Board Chair Rob Shea’s remarks. Mr. Shea emphasized the importance of community action to ensure the viability of local hospitals.
The evening also included special presentations to Ruth and Tris Colket in recognition of their recent 1$ million donation, to outgoing Board Chair Rob Shea, and to Volunteer of the Year Dean Read, who Chairs the Hospital’s Special Gifts Campaign Committee.
The event culminated with the presentation of the Hospital’s Annual Employee of the Year Award, given to laboratory technician Ellen Eaton, a twenty-year employee of the Hospital’s lab.