Hospitals recognized for innovation and quality improvement

Four Kansas hospitals received recognition for their leadership and achievement in quality improvement and patient safety by the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative (KHC). The awards were sponsored by the KaMMCO Foundation and presented at the KHC’s annual educational event, Summit on Quality, Friday, May 6.

The KHC Leadership in Quality Award is presented annually to a facility that reflects KHC’s vision for health care that is consistent with the Triple Aim of improving the health of populations, enhancing the experience of patients, and reducing the per capita cost of care.

Labette Health, Parsons, received the 2016 Leadership in Quality Award and a cash prize of $5,000 presented by Kendra Tinsley, KHC executive director and Kurt Scott, president of the KaMMCO Foundation.

“KaMMCO and KHC are proud to acknowledge and to reward successful efforts that deliver safe, quality-driven, highly reliable patient-centered care,” said Scott. “We recognize that Kansas hospitals are eager to innovate. They are reaching out to their community partners in health care and establishing new ways of interacting with their patients, before and after they visit their facility. Kansas hospitals and their employees are establishing programs that improve the health of their local population, and embracing nationwide patient safety initiatives brought to their doorstep by KHC.”

Tinsley added, “We applaud your hospital’s dedication and commitment to Kansans and the communities you serve. KHC recognizes the leadership of individuals and organizations in delivery system transformation and appreciates the investment of time, energy and talent to ensure safe, quality care for Kansas patients. Today, we celebrate hospitals and providers across Kansas and their patient safety, quality and performance improvement.”

The 2016 Leadership in Quality Award winner:

Labette Health, Parsons

Labette healthLabette Health, front row (l-r): Ashley Harlow, PharmD; Tereasa DeMeritt RN MSN APRN NPc; Rachel Merrick RN. Back row: Brian Williams FACHE, FACMPE, CEO; Kathi McKinney RN BSN MHCL, CNO; Rebecca Helwig, RN, Kendra Tinsley, KHC, Kurt Scott, KaMMCO.  

Located in the heart of Southeast Kansas, Labette Health is a 99-bed hospital that provides acute, intensive and inpatient rehabilitation services to a six-county area. A respected regional medical center, Labette Health is renowned for its comprehensive health care services, skilled and caring employees, state-of-the-art medical technology, and dedicated and talented medical staff.

Success at the facility is attributed to empowering front-line employees, practicing transparency, and living their mission of providing exceptional health care. In addition, their mission sets the tone for organizational culture and patient-centered care. The facility has been active in the CMS Partnership for Patients’ Hospital Engagement Network and met or exceeded the reduction of hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and the reduction of 30-day readmissions by 20 percent during HEN 1.0. Patient safety is a top priority. The facility holds the honor of being the only rural hospital in Kansas to earn the national Blue Distinction Center+ designation from Blue Cross and Blue Shield in orthopedics and maternity care for quality and cost effective care. 

In addition, three hospitals received an Award of Merit, including:

Holton Community Hospital, Holton

HoltonHolton Community Hospital staff, front row (l-r): Loretta Fitzgerald, Safety Officer, Mandy Bontrager, Director of Nursing, Home Health & Hospice, Cody Utz, Director of Quality; back row: Kurt Scott, KaMMCO, Sarah Gideon, Risk Manager, Brandon Speer, Nurse Manager, Kendra Tinsley KHC.

Holton Community Hospital is a 12-bed general medical and surgical hospital in northeast Kansas. The facility is recognized for its creation of a Transitions of Care committee which has unified the discharge process for all patients. With a goal to reduce all-cause readmissions by 20 percent, the Transitions of Care committee also strengthened the hospital’s relationships with local home health/hospice agencies, assisted living centers, nursing homes, physicians’ offices and other community agencies. The successful project was selected for presentation at the 16th Annual Health Care Service Excellence Conference in Phoenix, AZ. The facility is proud to have reduced their annual readmission rate from a baseline of 13 percent in 2012 to 7 percent in 2015. They increased their “willingness to recommend” score in Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) from 77.6 percent in 2013 to 95.2 percent in 2014. 

Newton Medical Center, Newton

NewtonRepresenting Newton Medical Center: front row (l-r) Karen Lehman, APRN Hospitalist, Malea Hartvickson, Director of Quality Management, Kesa Easter, Quality Specialist; back row: Kurt Scott, KaMMCO, Todd Tangeman, Chief Operating Officer, Heather Porter, DCM, Justine Komin, Performance Improvement Coordinator, Jennifer Koontz, MD, Kendra Tinsley, KHC.

Newton Medical Center is a 103-bed, not-for-profit facility dedicated to providing health care services to residents of Harvey and surrounding counties in central Kansas. The facility is recognized for patient safety  as well as its employee-driven patient and family engagement efforts.

The organization’s in-house educational group, known as Newton Medical Center University, offers sessions every month to update staff on important issues related to protecting patients. AIDET, a customer service tool that incorporates the concepts of Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explanation, and Thank, is now used in all interactions. The “No Pass Zone”, asks every staff person to help every guest, in every situation, every time. No one should be passed who looks lost, tired or who is asking for help. In July 2015, Newton Medical Center established the Right on Track Program (ROTP) to deliver transitional care to high risk populations for 30-day periods. Currently they report a 75 percent rate of success in preventing readmissions for those individuals enrolled in ROTP. 

Phillips County Health System, Phillipsburg

PhillipsburgRepresenting Phillips County Health System: Kurt Scott, KaMMCO, Rhonda Schurtz, Risk Manager/Quality Director, and Kendra Tinsley, KHC.

To meet the health care needs of Phillips County and surrounding northwest Kansas communities, the Phillips County Health System, partners with orthopedic, podiatry, urology, cardiology, oncology, ophthalmology, migraine and pain management, orthopedic surgery and general surgery specialists to complement its General Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioner.  An emphasis on regularly collecting and analyzing core measures and data, in addition to participation in the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) has given this facility the tools and education to drive change for improvement in patient safety and satisfaction. 

Phillips County Health System participates in a national program, Custom Learning Process, which focuses on giving great customer service with emphasis on patient satisfaction, safety, employee relations and health services. All employees completed the Custom Learning Process education.

KHC is a provider-led 501(c)3 organization with a mission to transform health care through patient-centered initiatives that improve quality, safety and value. Founded in 2008 by the Kansas Hospital Association and the Kansas Medical Society, KHC embodies the commitment of two of the state’s leading health care provider groups to act as a resource and continuously enhance the quality of care provided to Kansans. For more information about the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative and its initiatives, visit