Penn Highlands Hospitals Receive Awards from Hospital Association

April 20, 2015

Penn Highlands Healthcare is committed to the safety of its patients and to the highest-quality patient care. Those efforts were recognized at a meeting of the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania last week.

The “Safety Across the Board” Excellence Award was presented by the Pennsylvania Hospital Engagement Network (PA-HEN) to directors from Penn Highlands Brookville, Penn Highlands DuBois and Penn Highlands Elk. The award was created to recognize participating hospitals’ achievement of exceptional performance and participation in the PA-HEN and with the overall goals of reducing preventable harm and readmissions.

The PA-HEN brings hospitals together, voluntarily, to learn and share best practices. Audits are conducted of each hospital’s safety procedures with opportunities for improvement. Hospitals must meet both the performance and participation criteria in order to be eligible for the “Safety Across the Board” Excellence Award. This is the second consecutive year the hospitals have won the award.

“This process really keeps patient safety forefront in our minds,” states Susan Dixon, Patient Safety Officer at Penn Highlands Elk. “Working with PA-HEN assists hospitals in sharing best practices and collaboration. Every day we think about avoiding things like bed sores or infections. Patient safety is our number one goal.”

In addition to the Excellence Award, PH Elk also received awards for being in the top percentile for preventable readmissions and pressure ulcers.

Dixon explains a new procedure implemented because of things learned through PA-HEN’s program. Follow-up phone calls are made to any patient discharged from the hospital with COPD or congestive heart failure. This ensures each patient understands his or her medications and follows up with a family physician.

Christine Garner, Director of Quality, Risk Management and Infection Control, adds, “We have had zero ventilator-associated pneumonia cases, central line infections and catheter-associated urinary tract infections. This is an outstanding accomplishment for our organization and is a reflection of our dedicated hospital staff.”

Penn Highlands Brookville was also a recipient of the “Readmissions Project” award.

The patient safety efforts at Penn Highlands Brookville are directed by Amy Fraccola, Performance Improvement Manager. “This reward is tangible evidence of our hard-working nurses. It takes great effort to participate in PA-HEN’s initiatives, and we couldn’t be happier to receive this honor.”

Sherry McKee, Director of Performance Improvement at Penn Highlands DuBois adds, “We have reduced many of our measurable indicators to zero in the past year.

Penn Highlands DuBois had no central line infections and no cases of ventilator-associated pneumonia for the period from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

“This is a great achievement, and we are extremely proud of our healthcare team,” states McKee.