HMH pursues Magnet award

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Designation recognizes excellence in nursing

By Marty Finley

Hardin Memorial Health is pursuing a hospital designation validating its commitment to excellent nursing care.

HMH intends to apply for Magnet recognition, an award distributed by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, this fall.

Linda Bragg, chief nursing officer, said the application and designation process is lengthy and meticulous as HMH must provide accurate documentation that clearly states the excellence of care required under the ANCC’s stringent evaluation standards.

To receive the designation, HMH must demonstrate five components of the Magnet model: transformational leadership; structural empowerment allowing nurses to be involved in self-governance and decision making; exemplary professional practices; new knowledge, innovations and improvements implemented by nurses based on evidence-based medicine and research; and empirical quality results proving nurses make a contribution to the system.

To reach this goal, Bragg said, HMH leaders and staff must get involved and share “success stories,” a supportive narrative used to supplement documented evidence of practices and procedures.

“It takes a village,” Bragg said to the HMH Board of Trustees during its monthly meeting Tuesday morning.

HMH plans to submit the documents by 2015 and it must be deemed excellent to warrant a site visit from Magnet appraisers, who “verify, clarify and amplify” the written content in person as they evaluate the nursing culture. Appraisers also seek public involvement and comment by making the written documentation available for public review, Bragg said.

“We want (the Magnet designation) for our staff, patients, the community and also to recruit physicians,” she said.

Bragg said many physicians want to work at a Magnet hospital, so the designation would make the hospital more marketable.

“That’s a big one,” said HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson.

Fewer than 400 hospitals have received Magnet designation, which Bragg said represents roughly 6 percent of the health care industry — rarified air for hospitals. In Kentucky, she said, only a half dozen or so hospitals have achieved the mark, including Baptist Health Lexington, formerly Central Baptist Hospital.

Bragg said receiving the designation would improve patient care and benefit nurses and the organization as a whole.

For example, she said, Magnet hospitals demonstrate higher quality nursing care with improved patient safety and quality incomes, lower mortality rates, higher patient and family satisfaction ratings and a decreased length of stay for patients.

“We’re pursuing this for all the right reasons,” Bragg said. “We’re not just doing it for the recognition.”

The program also gives nurses more autonomy and more involvement in decision making at the organization level, allowing them to invest more fully in the care they’re providing, she said. This, in turn, improves job satisfaction and retention rates and lowers the likelihood of burnout and turnover among registered nurses, according to officials.

For the organization, Bragg said, it produces more collaboration, creates a more positive work environment and gives HMH a competitive marketing advantage.

Trustee Fred Clem asked what new requirements would be placed on nurses during the application process, but Johnson said Magnet is less about formal requirements and more about avenues for innovation.

“It provides an opportunity for those nurses who want to go above and beyond to get involved,” he said.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.

In other business

  • Tom Carrico, vice president and chief information officer, briefed the board on the Crimson Continuum of Care Initiative, a program expected to be implemented within six months. Carrico said the initiative aids physicians in making informed decisions regarding length of stay, performance, industry measures and other aspects of care as they are provided benchmarks. Carrico said HMH is in the data validation and physician education process of the initiative.
  • HMH announced it was surveyed by the Joint Commission and recertified as a Primary Stroke Center. The hospital also received its accreditation to continue cancer treatment.
  • HMH President and CEO Dennis Johnson presented the hospital’s monthly financial report, which indicated bad debt is up by more than $3 million from last January, rising from around $8.5 million to $11.8 million. Provisions for bad debt, he said, are calculated based on a formula tied to revenues, which increases as revenues grow. Trustee Garry King asked if the hospital’s acquisitions of several practices, including Surgical Specialists and The Surgical Center, has forced the rate of bad debt higher. Johnson said the purchases are a contributing factor because HMH assumed the bad debt at those practices, but bad debt would have risen this year regardless. At King’s request, Johnson said hospital administrators will calculate how much of the increase can be attributed to acquisitions and relay those numbers to the board.
  • Johnson reported the hospital’s decision to eliminate employee parking spaces in the main campus parking garage, freeing up more space for visitor and patient parking. Johnson said the hospital made the decision because of expected facility upgrades and to better accommodate patients. The change, he said, has been well received by the community.
  • Johnson also briefed the board on the Kentucky General Assembly’s legislative session, saying reforms to the Kentucky Medicaid Managed Care program are at the top of the list for Kentucky hospitals. The state has contracted with several organizations to manage Medicaid as a way to cut costs, but Johnson said the change has created unwelcome problems, including coverage denials for ER visits and delayed payments.
  • “We understand the state is in a pickle. ... But we don’t think we should have to bear that burden solely,” Johnson said.