Reflecting on our pandemic year: Quality care shines through

Published 5:00 pm Monday, June 28, 2021

By Matt Smith

This week, I celebrate one year as chief executive officer of Clark Regional Medical Center (CRMC). A year ago when I stepped into this role, CRMC was deep into its pandemic response, and I could hardly imagine all that we would overcome – and all that we would accomplish – in the months to follow.

As I think back to those early months navigating an evolving international crisis, I am amazed at how this team has come out on the other side stronger and more connected to our purpose than ever before. With the support of every single member of our team, and through the incredible partnerships we have with our area public health agencies, we executed robust emergency operations plans to ensure patients in Clark County and our surrounding communities could always depend on us for care. Our caregivers spent months on the front lines protecting and caring for our patients, supporting their families and buoying each other’s spirits.

What stands out most in my reflection, though, is that this team found new ways to exceed expectations in delivering high-quality patient care throughout the pandemic. CRMC has long maintained a commitment to high standards of quality care, performance improvement and patient engagement, as evidenced by our designation in 2015 as the first LifePoint Health National Quality Leader. To achieve this designation, a hospital must work through a rigorous process with quality experts to evaluate how we provide care and to adopt and implement best practices. As a result of this work, we have a unique cultural and operational focus on quality in which everyone – employees, physicians, patients and family members – has a voice and plays a vital role.

This unique approach to delivering high-quality patient care is a way of life for us, and it has carried us through a year that challenged health care teams across the world in innumerable ways. The quality achievements we have earned in the last year are a remarkable testament to our commitment to this way of life.

In April, CRMC received its sixth consecutive “A” grade in the spring 2021 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, a national distinction recognizing CRMC’s achievements protecting patients from errors, injuries, accidents, and infections. The Leapfrog Group is an independent national watchdog organization committed to health care quality and safety. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to all general hospitals across the country and is updated every six months. It is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospitals’ prevention of medical errors and other harms to patients in their care.

In May, we learned that we were awarded five stars in the latest round of Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). CRMC’s Overall Hospital Quality 5-Star Rating puts it among the top 14 percent of all eligible hospitals in the U.S. with respect to patient safety and the overall patient experience. Only 455 of the more than 3,300 hospitals rated received five stars.

These achievements are evidence of our commitment to high standards for patient safety and quality care. I am extremely proud of how this team continues to deliver on this commitment even in unprecedented times. As I look ahead to the year to come, I know that the year behind us has made us even stronger. Our team is prepared to meet any challenge we may face, and no matter what lies ahead, we will stay our course and remain true to our mission of Making Communities Healthier.