The Journal Gazette
 
 
Monday, March 06, 2017 10:36 pm

Regional hospitals among top in US

Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

On a list of the nation’s 100 top hospitals, Indiana has tied for third in the number of hospitals that made the grade, according to a report released Monday.

Truven Health Analytics’ 24th annual list uses 11 objective criteria to evaluate hospitals, including patient death rate, average length of stay, time spent in the emergency department, Medicare spending per beneficiary and adjusted operating profit margin.

Indiana almost doubled the number of its hospitals on the list to seven from four the previous year. 

Only Michigan, with 10, and Texas, with eight, have more hospitals on the list. Illinois is tied with Indiana at seven.

Twenty-four states don’t have any on the list. Ohio had six.

Three of the honored hospitals are in northeast Indiana: Parkview Regional Medical Center, Parkview Huntington Hospital and Dupont Hospital. Dupont is operated by Parkview rival Lutheran Health Network. Lutheran and Parkview are both based in Fort Wayne.

The Indiana Hospital Association has played a role in helping its members achieve excellence, said Aaron Garofola, Dupont’s CEO. Dupont has been on the 100 Top Hospitals list four times, including the past three years.

"They give us tons of data, and they call and ask if there’s anything else they can do for us," he said Monday afternoon.

Jennifer Hurtubise, the association’s spokeswoman, said all members are working together to improve patient care.

The industry group, which lobbies state legislators on behalf of more than 160 members, is uncomfortable shining the spotlight on a select group. 

Hurtubise attached little significance to the report, saying various rankings are released on a regular basis based on different criteria.

This study does have an inherent flaw.

Truven divides hospitals into five categories: major teaching, teaching, large community, medium community and small community. The data collection and management company said comparing similar-sized facilities makes the evaluation more fair.

But by specifying that 20 hospitals will be included in each category, the organization also runs the risk of including hospitals that have lower quality rankings than those excluded because they ranked 21st – or even 34th – in another size category. 

Hurtubise is eager to talk about how her organization supports its members, however. Efforts have included the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana, an initiative to encourage residents to make better lifestyle choices; the Indiana Patient Safety Center, a program to share safety information; and the 2016 Sepsis Awareness Campaign, various marketing pieces to spread knowledge of the infection.

On Friday morning, The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana will hold a local community breakfast at Grand Wayne Center. The program will encourage cooperation among organizations by including speakers from Parkview, Lutheran and CVS pharmacy, Hurtubise said.

Topics will include infant mortality and smoking cessation.

Garofola, who is settling into the CEO chair at Dupont, plans to create an executive team to review the report and look for opportunities for improvement despite appearing on the list four times.

"At Dupont, the bar is set very high," he said. 

Even so, the 36-year-old downplayed the accomplishment.

The list is based on 11 quality measures, he said, "and we happen to perform really well in those categories."

Mike Packnett, Parkview Health president and CEO, was in more of a mood to brag.

"It’s humbling," he said in a statement, "to be among the other top hospitals in our nation that share the same values, compassion and commitment to service excellence that we practice here at Parkview." 

sslater@jg.net 

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