SMH lauded for patient safety; judge presents award

In a special ceremony Wednesday, Saline County Judge Lanny Fite presented a prestigious award to representatives of Saline Memorial Hospital.

For the second consecutive year, the hospital received the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award.
The distinction places Saline Memorial Hospital within the top 5 percent of all hospitals for its excellent performance in safeguarding patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stays, according to Healthgrades, the leading online resource for comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals.

Fite presented the award to Bob Trautman, chief executive officer of the hospital, while SMH employees and community leaders observed. Trautman then in turn presented the award to Debbie Burrow, the hospital's chief nursing officer.

The judge congratulated the hospital staff for the honor, saying it is "a great comfort when you're a patient to look up and see, friendly, hometown people providing your care."

He commended the employees for the excellent care they provide.

When compared to hospitals performing in the bottom 5 percent for patient safety, patients treated in Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award recipient hospitals, on average, reportedly were:
•73 percent less likely to experience pressure sores or bed sores acquired in the hospital compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5 percent in the nation.

•72 percent less likely to experience a hip fracture following surgery compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5 percent in the nation.

•67 percent less likely to experience catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at the hospital compared to hospitals ranked in the bottom 5 percent in the nation.

“Our team is dedicated to personalized patient care and continuous quality improvement,” Trautman said, “and this award is just one example of that. “This is great news for our hospital but even better news for our patients and community that we serve," he added.

Evan Marks, an executive vice president of Healthgrades, noted that the agency is dedicated to "providing quality information that helps consumers make decisions based on objective data leading to the best care for themselves and their families."

“Consumers can rest assured that a hospital recognized with a Healthgrades 2014 Patient Safety Excellence Award has demonstrated an established commitment to patient safety," he added.

SMH officials reported that a number of patient safety initiatives have been implemented during the past few years. These include the following:

•In 2011, SMH implemented a Patient/Family activated Rapid Response Team.  If a family or patient feels something isn’t quite right about the patient's health, the Rapid Response Team (ICU Nurse, Respiratory Therapist and Physician) can be contacted. This team immediately responds to the patient's bedside to assess the situation.

•The SMH leadership team rounds on all new patients daily. This helps to identify patient safety issues and or concerns in real-time. Nurse managers and clinical coordinators also visit patients preoperatively to identify safety concerns or other issues prior to surgery.

•All shift change reports are done in the patient's room for continuity of care and to involve the patient and the family. This provides an opportunity for patients to be involved in the plan of care and to address any safety concerns before the next nurse takes over.

“Safety doesn’t’ have a beginning or an end,” said Debbie Burrow, SMH chief nursing officer. “It’s a continuous process.

"It’s everybody’s responsibility to strive to maintain a safe environment for our patients," Burrow said. "I’m proud of our team and the level of care provided at our hospital.”

Healthgrades reported that during the 2014 study period (2010-2012), Patient Safety Excellence Award hospitals showed better than expected performance in providing safety for patients in the Medicare population, as measured by objective outcomes (risk-adjusted patient safety indicator rates) across 13 of the 14 patient safety indicators defined by the agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

If all hospitals performed at the same level as award recipients, 266,813 patient safety events among Medicare patients in U.S. hospitals potentially could have been avoided, officials reported.
Saline Memorial is a full-service, 167-bed nonprofit community hospital that has served Saline County and the surrounding areas for more than 58 years.

Located in Benton, the facility provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services, including but not limited to, cardiology, women’s services, bariatric surgery, pediatrics, orthopedics, otolaryngology, ophthalmology, adult and geriatric psychiatry, hospice and home health, sleep disorders and wound care.

Although the main campus is in Benton, SMH also manages a general surgery clinic, internal medicine/after-hours clinic and two women’s clinics located throughout the county. For more information, visit

A reception followed Tuesday's ceremony in the Health Education Building.