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Monday, December 24, 2012 - Michigan Center for Rural Health Honors Kalkaska Memorial

Michigan Center for Rural Health Honors Kalkaska Memorial
Hospital receives the center’s 2012 Spirit of Quality Award for sepsis project

Kalkaska Memorial Health Center has received the Michigan Center for Rural Health’s 2012 Spirit of Quality Award for its sepsis improvement initiative in the Emergency Department. Sepsis is a life threatening condition that arises when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. More than 750,000 cases of sepsis occur each year in the U.S.

“Award recipients are committed to providing their patients with high quality health care,” said John Barnas, executive director of the Michigan Center for Rural Health. “The Michigan Center for Rural Health is pleased to sponsor this award, which recognizes the dedication of hospital staff to provide the right care to the right patient each and every time.”

To qualify for the award, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center's multidisciplinary team showed how the hospital embraced meaningful changes through reviewing its processes and creating interventions that are improving sepsis diagnosis and care. Kalkaska was one of the six hospitals in the Munson Healthcare system that worked together to improve the ability to diagnosis and treat sepsis at the earliest point.

Kalkaska Memorial and the other five Munson Healthcare hospitals are part of an international campaign against sepsis that includes 165 hospitals nationally. During a 14-month period of the campaign, mortality from sepsis decreased nationally from 37 to 30.8 percent of patients diagnosed with the condition.

Kalkaska Memorial Health Center was honored by the Center at an awards ceremony during the 13th Annual Michigan Critical Access Hospital Conference Nov. 8 in Boyne Falls.

Kalkaska County residents and visitors readily share their gratitude for the 24/7 emergency care at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, as noted in comments the hospital has received over the past six months. A downstate congressman recently wrote: “This is a note to commend the congenial and good service we were given when we brought my wife to your emergency room. Your staff treated her with skill and professionalism, comparable to many excellent doctors I’ve known.”

Kalkaska Memorial Administrator Jim Austin said the letter is typical of comments the hospital regularly receives on its patient satisfaction surveys conducted at the hospital by the national patient satisfaction organization Press Ganey. The firm surveys more than 10,000 health care facilities in the country, including more than half of all U.S. hospitals to measure and improve the patient experience. Examples of comments about Kalkaska Memorial Health Center from the most recent quarter include:
• “Personable, knowledgeable, and concerned about me understanding what was wrong. Staff showed concerns for the family.”
• “Well equipped for a small town medical facility.”
• “My nurse was awesome, kept me up to date on what was going on, good bedside manners, knew what she was doing, and called two days later to find out how I was doing.”
• “Amazing, very respectful.”
• “They treated my wife like they knew her.” • “My wife was able to stay with me all the time. Answered her questions as well.”
• “Great rapport with Munson hospital in Traverse City.” Austin said Emergency Department visits have increased from 2,000 a year in the early 1990s to more than 12,000 visits this year.

“I am very proud of our Emergency Department staff, nurses, and providers because Kalkaska Memorial Health Center continually scores high in patient satisfaction,” Austin said, adding that he is proud of all of the employees and departments at the hospital and their focus on delivering outstanding service and quality. “As part of the Munson Healthcare system we offer Kalkaska-area residents the best of both worlds – quality local care, and access to some of the most widely respected medical specialists in the country, right next door in Traverse City.”

Austin said the hospital also is proud of its patient satisfaction in its outpatient departments with comments such as:
• “Everyone in the CT Department was very gracious; it was a very pleasant experience.”
• “Everyone at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center is friendly, knowledgeable, and professional.”
• “We waited a very short time. We were on vacation and everyone went out of their way to see we didn't have to sit around and wait. Thank you very much!”
• “The mammogram facility is the very nicest and comforting I have been in.”
• “I had excellent care from the lobby desk throughout the whole facility. Also, your new hospital is warm and beautiful! Thanks, everyone.”

“Our high patient satisfaction scores as measured by Press Ganey should give our community continued confidence in the level of care here,” Austin said. “We appreciate the support of our community and the positive feedback we continue to receive from patients.”

The Michigan Center for Rural Health, who honored Kalkaska Memorial with the Spirit of Quality Award, is a non-profit organization formed in 1991 as part of a nationwide, federal, and state initiative to recognize the importance of rural health care and to create a mechanism for resources to flow to rural areas.