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image Dyana Valdez, RN, BSN, (left) and Damien Lehman, RN, confer over a patient’s care while charting electronically at Mountain West Medical Center’s medical/surgical wing. National Hospital Week takes place during this week and ends Saturday.

May 14, 2013
‘National Hospital Week’ celebrates staff at Mountain West

As part of National Hospital Week, Mountain West Medical Center’s new CEO hopes to highlight the facility’s employees and services to the community.

“National Hospital Week is an event where all hospitals take the time to recognize the many employees, physicians and community members, including the board of directors, that make hospitals operate so well,” said CEO Phil Eaton.

“You can have good facilities and equipment, but without the properly trained and professional folks to run a hospital, the care doesn’t happen. It’s really about celebrating those efforts and recognizing those people,” he added.

National Hospital Week, which takes place this week from May 12 to 18, began in 1921. The week celebrates the history, technology and dedicated hospital professionals.

Eaton, who has been at the helm of MWMC for less than a month, said since he’s been in town, he’s noticed some unique things about MWMC.

“One thing I discovered right away was that MWMC is one of the top-ranked hospitals in the country,” he said.

In December 2012, MWMC was one of only three Utah hospitals that received an “A” grade for safety from Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit patient safety watchdog group.

Hospitals were graded based on the risk of medical error, infection, accident or injury occurring during a stay. Besides MWMC, Alta View Hospital in Sandy and Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem each received an “A” grade.

In September 2012, MWMC was named one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, a Chicago-based independent, not-for-profit organization that accredits and certifies thousands of health care organizations across the U.S. Each of the hospitals named as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures had to meet a 95 percent performance threshold. A 95 percent score means a hospital provided an evidence-based practice 95 out of 100 times.

Eaton said because MWMC is known for its high quality of care, which is directly related to a high quality medical staff, it’s much easier for the hospital to recruit more physicians and continue expanding.

In the last three weeks, Eaton has met with four physicians who are interested in pursuing a career at MWMC because of the community and its benefits. Eaton’s current goal is to hire no less than eight new physicians to take over roles in orthopedic surgery, primary care, pediatrics and obstetrics and gynecology.

Eaton said he’s discovered that the hospital has a strong obstetrics department, mainly because of the quality of the physicians working in that area.

“It’s very uncommon for a small community to attract that kind of quality, but it’s important because for a mother who’s delivering a baby, they want to know they can have their delivery without trying to rush through traffic or go a great distance,” he said.

Eaton said the birthing rooms at MWMC are some of the nicest he’s seen in the country, which includes hospitals he’s worked at, toured and assisted with design processes.

“There’s no reason to leave when you can have quality care here,” he said. “For me, coming in as the new guy, the women’s services area was a nice surprise. Obstetrics, in a sense, is the heart of a hospital. The whole concept of bringing new life into the world is so important to any community and any hospital.”

Another thing Eaton has discovered in his short time at MWMC is an ongoing dialogue about patient costs.

“The hospital is taking a close look at costs because of community concern and feedback from physicians on this issue,” he said. “I’ve had a two-fold discovery. In our business office, we’ve checked rates for patients for services at other facilities, and our rates are actually closer in many cases than people thought. The other thing is that we’re going to start a program where we can be flexible with patients in terms of helping them understand what the benefits are and what the out-of-pocket costs will be.”

Eaton said this way, the hospital staff can help patients understand how costs at MWMC compare to other facilities.

“There is a huge issue about how expensive it is, but we’ll be able to help people more than we have been able to in the past,” he said.

As part of National Hospital Week, events will take place throughout the week for hospital employees, such as a barbecue this Friday to celebrate and thank them for their work.

“The hospital is a little-known secret within its own community,” said Eaton. “From my perspective, I was able to walk in and applaud the efforts of the community and hospital that have essentially aligned [MWMC] to be a place where you can get amazing healthcare.”

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