BIG STONE GAP, Va. – Lonesome Pine Hospital has been named one of the nation’s 100 top hospitals for performance improvement, a significant honor that recognizes the Big Stone Gap facility’s proven ability to implement organization-wide improvement at a faster rate than other U.S. hospitals.

Lonesome Pine is one of only two hospitals in Virginia and one of just 20 hospitals in the nation with fewer than 100 beds to make the list, which was compiled by the national healthcare information company Solucient.

“Our recognition as one of the nation’s 100 top hospitals for performance improvement is not only a reward for years of hard work but also a stepping stone for our future,” said Robert Polahar, Lonesome Pine’s president. “This award means our patients have better outcomes, fewer complications and shorter hospital stays. It means our financial performance is strong, ensuring our community will have a hometown hospital for years to come.

“And, above all else, it means our hospital is leading the nation in quality improvement – growing better for our patients every day.”

Findings from Solucient’s 100 Top Hospitals: Performance Improvement Leaders study were published in the April 25 issue of Modern Healthcare magazine. The 100 hospitals selected for the honor developed consistent and effective performance improvement across critical measures at a faster rate than other U.S. hospitals over a five-year period.

Specifically, the study compared hospitals’ performance improvement in the areas of quality of care, operational efficiency and financial performance. The 100 hospitals recognized as performance improvement leaders were found to have improved overall performance consistently, year to year, at a substantially faster rate their peers across the nation.

“This study is a major step forward in objectively measuring the impact a superior management team can have on an organization over time by instilling a culture of change,” said Jean Chenoweth, executive director of Solucient’s 100 Top Hospitals program. “These are hospitals in a position to thrive as the growth of pay for performance and consumerism force change in the industry.”

The Solucient study analyzed acute-care hospitals nationwide using detailed empirical performance data from 1999 to 2003, including publicly available Medicare MedPAR data and Medicare cost reports. The study looked at all U.S. hospitals licensed to treat Medicare patients.

Nine performance measures were examined at each hospital: risk-adjusted mortality and complications, average length of stay, expenses, profitability, cash-to-debt ratio, growth in percent of community served, tangible assets and risk-adjusted patient safety index.

“This recognition is not something for which you apply,” Polahar said. “It’s a terrific honor that recognizes all the hard work by our professional staff, support staff and medical staff in making Lonesome Pine Hospital better through process improvement.

“Lonesome Pine is a wonderful hospital, and this award is a message to all that we are on our way to doing even more to serve this area with the best health care possible.”

Lonesome Pine is the third Wellmont Health System hospital to earn recognition from Solucient. Previously, Bristol Regional Medical Center was recognized for having one of the nation’s 100 top intensive care units and Holston Valley Medical Center was honored as one of the country’s 100 top hospitals.


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