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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Sep 6, 2018
Quality matters. It can be measured, and subsequently validated, by competent, outside, objective reviewers like the Joint Commission (TJC). It is nation's oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body for healthcare.

TJC’s vision statement is, “All people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings.”  Recently, TJC recertified NCH for its stroke program and total joint replacement (TJR) programs (knee and hip) in addition to our entire system including 73 out-patient locations, Baker Hospital (385 beds), and North Naples Hospital (325 beds).  We are the only healthcare system in Southwest Florida to have our entire system including out-patient clinics and all NCH Physician Group offices, stroke program, and TJR program up to TJC’s high standards. 

 

NCH is a big system.  In 2017 we had 40,000 admissions; 119,000 Emergency Department (ED) visits; 3,337 births; 311 open heart surgeries; 11,822 surgical procedures; 944 stroke discharges; and 503,158 outpatient encounters. 

 

Our stroke program, first certified by TJC four years ago, has grown remarkably since then.  The Agency for Health Care Administration, a Florida state agency, deemed NCH a Comprehensive Stroke Center in 2014.  NCH cared for 89% of stroke patients in Collier County in 2017.  Stroke was the fourth leading cause of death in Collier in 2015. 

 

Our comprehensive stroke program includes education and prevention.  Nevertheless, over 1,400 patients with strokes or stroke-like symptoms arrive in the ED and are met by a team including an ER physician and neurologists.  EMS alerts the ED while in transit.  Depending on the diagnosis, definitive treatment with clot busting drugs starts on average in an astoundingly short thirty-six minutes.  If patients need a mechanical thrombectomy, namely removing the clot from the blood vessel in the brain, we have highly competent neuro-interventional radiologists and neurosurgeons available 24/7.  We measure our mortality and outcomes compared to the national average as well as the top 25th percentile in the nation.  We significantly exceed both these standards. 

 

Continuing treatment includes full-service physical, occupational, and speech therapies along with in-patient care at the Brookdale Center for Rehabilitation and Aging.  Neuro-interventional radiologist Dr. Mazen AbuAwad has shared our results in Athens, Greece at the European Stroke Conference.  We have also published in respected medical journals.

 

Regarding joints, NCH is perennially the highest volume joint replacement hospital for Medicare patients in Florida.  In 2017 we performed 511 Total Hip Replacements (THR) and 1,145 Total Knee Replacements (TKR).  Naples is unique in many ways including the age of our patients who are, on average, ten years older than the national average.

 

Education of the patient and caregiver weeks prior to surgery in a classroom setting allays anxiety and sets expectations.  Pre-operative assessment helps avoid post-op difficulties.  Most everyone receives physical therapy and walks on the day of surgery while also taking meals out of bed.  Patient satisfaction, objectively measured, is fundamental.  Readmission rates, length of stay, mortality, hospital acquired conditions, and complications of care are all at or better than the top 25% of hospitals in the nation. 

 

We will always strive for improvement, continue with innovation, and learn/share best practices as we have our care validated by TJC.  Having third party competent reviewers objectively measuring us helps everyone live a longer, happier, and healthier life.       

 

P.S.  DO YOU HAVE A COLLEAGUE OR FRIEND WHO WOULD BE INTERESTED IN UPDATES?  Please enter their email address at nchmd.org/straighttalk, and we will add them to our complimentary mailing list.  

AUTHOR

Allen S. Weiss, M.D.

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.