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Aurora Health Care top performing health system in national quality initiative

Monday, August 17, 2009

Second consecutive year that Aurora leads nation in quality

MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Aurora Health Care is again the top performing health system in the country in a national Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Premier healthcare alliance quality initiative. This is the second consecutive year that Aurora has been the top performing health system in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project that involves 250 hospitals from across the country.

Two Aurora hospitals stand out as national leaders for individual performance in the initiative. Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay was the top performing hospital in the country. Aurora BayCare is the only hospital to receive five Top Performer awards and one of four hospitals to receive the maximum 10 awards. Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center is one of nine hospitals to receive four Top Performer awards. The Sheboygan hospital also is one of eight hospitals nationally to receive eight of a possible eight awards.

The quality initiative rewards hospitals for delivering higher quality care in five major clinical areas by providing incentive payments for top performance. The Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration focuses on improving the quality of patient care in congestive heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, heart bypass surgery, and hip and knee replacement.

In the Year 4 results that were just released, Aurora hospitals have excelled in several of the quality areas.

  • Aurora’s hospitals are top performers in 23 of the 47 quality areas that are measured. This is the most of any system.
  • Aurora hospitals received 68 incentive payments, the most of any system in the country.
  • Aurora hospitals collectively achieved the incentive level for 100 percent of the 42 quality areas where they were potentially eligible to receive awards.

“Our commitment as a major health care provider in Wisconsin is to find ways to provide care that lead to high quality, high-efficiency and low-costs. These results demonstrate that our integrated model of care is fulfilling that promise,” said Nick Turkal, M.D., Aurora President and CEO. “We believe strongly that our integrated health system is a better model for the patients we serve. It enables us to provide care across all settings so patients have easy access to the best care and service.”

“When you look at reforming our health care system, the quality demonstration model is a prime example of how we can improve access and care while controlling costs,” Turkal said.

Based on fourth-year results from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, Aurora received a bonus payment of nearly $365,000 for the health system’s quality achievements. CMS awarded incentive payments of approximately $12 million to 112 hospitals. Overall, 206 awards were given to top-performing hospitals in the fourth year of the project.

The incentive payments to Aurora are utilized to further improve care and provide data to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other caregivers.

“The successes of the hospitals – small and large, urban and rural, teaching and non-teaching – in the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project have led to its consideration as the basis for key national health reforms,” said Susan DeVore, Premier president and CEO. “As the proposal of a national value-base purchasing program becomes a reality, hospitals participating in the initiative will have six years experience with such a model.”

The hospital quality results follow a recent study by Benefit Services Group that concluded Aurora continues to be the most cost efficient hospital system in southeastern Wisconsin.

About the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project

The is the first national project of its kind, designed to determine if economic incentives to hospitals are effective at improving the quality of inpatient care. Through the project, which has been extended by CMS for an additional three years, Premier collects a set of more than 30 evidence-based clinical quality measures from almost 250 hospitals across the country. The quality measures were developed by government and private organizations (for more information on the indicators, visit: www.qualitydemo.com).

Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration tracks process and outcome measures in five clinical areas – acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), pneumonia, and hip and knee replacement.

Improvements in quality of care saved an estimated 4,700 acute myocardial infarction (AMI/heart attack) patients across the first four years of the project, according to an analysis of mortality rates at hospitals participating in the project. In addition, patients received approximately 500,000 additional recommended evidence-based clinical quality measures, such as smoking cessation, discharge instructions and pneumococcal vaccination, during that same timeframe.

For hospitals participating in the HQID project, the average Composite Quality Score (CQS), an aggregate of all quality measures within each clinical area, improved by 2.2 percent between the project’s third and fourth year for total gains of 17.2 percent over the project’s first four years.

Additional research by Premier using the Hospital Compare dataset showed that, by March 2008, HQID participants scored on average 6.9 percentage points higher (94.64 percent to 87.36 percent) than non-participants when evaluating 19 common Hospital Compare measures.

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

The Premier healthcare alliance is more than 2,200 U.S. hospitals and 58,000-plus other healthcare sites working together to improve healthcare quality and affordability. Premier maintains the nation's most comprehensive repository of clinical, financial and outcomes information and operates a leading healthcare purchasing network. A world leader in helping deliver measurable improvements in care, Premier works with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the United Kingdom's National Health Service North West to improve hospital performance. Premier has offices in San Diego, Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington.

About Aurora Health Care

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a nationally recognized leader in efforts to improve the quality of health care. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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Contact: Ron Irwin
Phone: 414-647-3405

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