When life is hanging in the balance, which do you choose: a hospital that offers the best care, or a hospital that offers the most affordable price?
According to the Healthcare Management Council (HMC), residents of southern Utah don’t have to choose between the two — they have both. The council recently named Dixie Regional Medical Center its best overall performer in the nation for combining high quality of care with low cost in 2009.
“Finding the right balance between cost management, quality improvement, and growth is a tall order these days,” said John Wittlesey, HMC Principal, congratulating Dixie Regional on “figuring out that equation.” HMC works with nearly 100 major hospitals and healthcare systems across the nation, providing benchmarking and management tools to help hospitals find ways to improve performance.
According to Mary Hatch, chief financial officer for Intermountain’s southwest region, Dixie has been using those tools to “drill down.” Hatch said, “We have been able to make changes that didn’t affect the quality of patient care, but did make a cost savings.” Such tightening up included standardizing supplies and equipment to get better pricing from suppliers, conservation of power and water, and other similar initiatives which are all part of cost-effective best practices. The efforts required collaboration and cooperation between hospital administration, the finance team, and other staff, doctors, nurses, and caregivers directly responsible for patient care.
“Everything we do at Dixie we do as a team,” said hospital administrator Terri Kane. “We have been honored this past year with several designations that recognize our clinical quality, including the Thomson Reuters national list of 100 top hospitals for cardiovascular care, the 2009 HealthInsight Quality Award, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association ‘Get with the Guidelines’ awards for coronary artery disease, stroke, and heart failure. This nod from HMC not only validates the quality of care available at Dixie Regional, it also shows that we are providing it to our community at the lowest possible cost.”
“This is a great recognition of the efforts of the wonderful people at Dixie Regional,” said Dr. Charles Sorenson, M.D., president of Intermountain Healthcare. “It’s even more impressive that the hospital continues to work hard on ways to further improve its quality and cost position.”
Two other Intermountain facilities were also recognized by HMC, including American Fork Hospital (a top performer), and Utah Valley Medical Center (honorable mention). As a system, Intermountain has been heralded as a model for balancing quality care at a lower cost by both President Barrack Obama and the national media. Utah enjoys the lowest healthcare cost per person of any state in the country, and Intermountain is Utah’s biggest healthcare provider.