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HMC earns second Presidential Honor Roll designation

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Jason A. Smith

Henry Medical Center (HMC), for the second straight year, received a statewide recognition for patient care.

The hospital has been named to the Georgia Hospital Association's (GHA) Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) Quality Honor Roll. HMC earned placement in the Presidential category, which it also achieved in 2010.

HMC is one of 56 hospitals in Georgia to attain a Presidential Category ranking on the PHA Honor Roll, according to Michelle Nunnally, public relations specialist for the hospital.

"The honor roll is based on clinical data provided by the federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), which administers the nation's Medicare and Medicaid programs," she explained. "The data was collected from July 2009, to June 2010."

The PHA, sponsored by the GHA, is a statewide collaborative that links health-care providers with community agencies and individuals to achieve healthy communities, according to Nunnally. "PHA includes representation from groups like hospitals, physicians, state health officials, legislators and businesses," she said.

Jeff Frehse, director of performance improvement for HMC, has worked at the hospital for a year-and-a-half. He said the award, given to the hospital last month, is an indicator of the quality of care provided to patients at the hospital.

"The award stems from our ability to score well in three different areas -- heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia," said Frehse. "There are individual measures under each category. For instance, how many patients arriving at the hospital, with a diagnosis of a heart attack, receive aspirin upon arrival? For pneumonia, how many patients receive the appropriate antibiotics in a timely manner?"

He said HMC's status as a two-time award winner, signals an ongoing commitment to excellence by hospital staff. "The hospitals that receive the award, year after year, are pretty consistent," said Frehse. "Those hospitals that consistently provide good quality care, consistently win the award.

Frehse added that the award serves to strengthen the hospital's position in ongoing affiliation talks, with two large health-care entities in Georgia. Hospital leaders are working to align themselves with either, Emory Healthcare, or Piedmont Healthcare, in the near future. "I don't know how much [the award] is taken into consideration, but to me, it sure can't hurt," said Frehse.

The hospital is striving to improve its quality of care, for cardiac patients, according to Frehse. HMC, he said, is preparing to roll out a new angioplasty program in the next three weeks. "We're in the final stages of reviewing our processes, and educating our staff," he said. "It will allow us to provide an increased level of cardiology services in Henry County."