Oak Hill Hospital is an undisputed force in the medical community - not only for its massive facility, state-of-the-art specialty care units, recent expansion and top-quality surgeons, nursing staff and support personnel - but also for its focus on quality patient-centered care.
The Joint Commission recently recognized Oak Hill Hospital for its outstanding scores on the Performance Measures Report, naming the hospital a "Top Performer on Key Quality Measures."
"We received a very distinguished recognition from Joint Commission," said Leanne Salazar, Oak Hill's chief nursing officer. "It is based on accountability measures or outcome measures that improve the quality of one's life."
The Joint Commission is an accrediting body, Salazar explained. While other accrediting agencies exist, the Joint Commission is the most recognized agency among healthcare organizations for continuously improving healthcare for the public. It is responsible for completing "unannounced triennial surveys" which must be passed in order to be licensed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
The Joint Commission reviews four diagnoses when making the determination for key top performers. Those four categories include pneumonia, heart failure, heart attack and surgical care. Oak Hill was recognized for all four.
The performance measures were reflective of 2012, Salazar explained. "It takes that long for the data to get in and be published."
In addition, Oak Hill Hospital also received an accountability composite rate of 99.8 percent. The rating is more up to date because it was released on Sept. 17 by the Joint Commission, Salazar said.
To receive the ranking each year, hospitals must achieve an accumulative performance of at least 95 percent across all four accountability measures.
Because Oak Hill is dedicated to providing quality care, it monitors all cases to ensure patients are treated with evidence-based practices. And it follows up with both concurrent and retrospective reviews. Additionally, random charts are sent to an outside vendor to ensure the records are abstracted correctly.
"We are very patient centered here," Salazar said. "Everything we do revolves around the patient."
Oak Hill focuses on bringing quality healthcare and patient experience to the hospital, achieving high standards on a consistent basis. "When we think of quality care, we think of what we would want for our own mother or father."
In fact, Salazar's hospital of choice for her father, who has heart troubles, is Oakhill. "I want to make sure he gets the aspirin he needs or gets to the cath lab on time.
"It is about doing the right thing for the right patient at the right time," she added. "That is what quality is about; decreasing the variation."
Oak Hill Hospital was built in 1984 with 100 beds. The current number is 262, nearly double the combined capacity of two competing hospitals. With a recent expansion that included the North Tower and state-of-the-art cardiac wing, Oak Hill is striving to become a destination hospital.
Oak Hill also is the area's leader in robotic-assisted surgeries, completing more than 200 since the Di Vinci Surgical System was introduced to the surgical team in February. Representatives from Intuitive, the company that manufactures the Di Vinci, said Oak Hill is the fastest growing hospital using the system, Salazar said.
Oak Hill also specializes in open heart surgery and has the only cardiovascular center in Hernando County. "We are cardiovascular focused," she added. It recently opened the Orthopedic and Spine Institute. "On our sixth floor we have a high amenities unit," she added. "It's just really a step above when compared to what is available around here."
In addition, Oak Hill has radiologists available at all times, shortening the wait time for results and hopefully decreasing the length of patients' hospital stays.
The pediatric care emergency room, run by two board-certified pediatricians, has grown 20 percent it was established at Oak Hill.
Salazar is a nurse practitioner by trade, board certified, with two masters degrees; one in business and one in nursing.
She joined Oak Hill two years ago as a registered nurse, vice president of quality management, and was promoted to chief nursing officer. Salazar, who dresses in scrubs twice a week to go out on the floor, is passionate about her team. "I like to spend time with the nurses and the patients," she said.