Wednesday, December 5, 2012

GRMC Awarded Elite Distinction as a 2012 Leapfrog Top Rural Hospital

The Leapfrog Group’s annual list of Top Hospitals was announced on December 4 in Baltimore, Md., and included Grinnell Regional Medical Center for the second time.  The announcement came at Leapfrog’s Annual Meeting, focusing on transparency as the key to improved hospital safety, and Top Hospital Awards.

“GRMC’s entire staff, physicians, and volunteers can be extremely proud of receiving this designation a second time,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president. “Earning this designation takes a lot of work, follow through, and commitment to our patients. Our culture of safety and the commitment to safe practices earned this award as well as the grade A score by Leapfrog Group, announced last June.”

Cooner, along with Ryan Dahlby Albright, president of the GRMC Medical Staff, and Ed Hatcher, president of the GRMC Board of Directors, received recognition at the reception in Maryland on December 4.

 “Our commitment to patient safety and quality care has always been our priority. The medical teams have implemented standard protocols and processes to ensure patient safety.  This award confirms that the commitment by staff and physicians for consistent safe practices can be measured and that we truly are performing at exceptional standards,” says Dahlby Albright.  

“The GRMC Board of Directors is highly engaged in safety and quality care. They receive continual updates on processes and protocols. We have a very strong board and a board quality subcommittee who hold us accountable according to high standards,” Cooner says. 

“This is truly an award bestowed on GRMC for its exceptional quality, patient outcomes, and efficiency,” says Ed Hatcher, president of the GRMC Board of Directors. “We were selected based on our results from a group that purchases healthcare services. I’m proud to be associated with this excellent hospital. This award confirms my belief and trust in GRMC.”

Grinnell Regional Medical Center was selected as a Top Hospital out of nearly 1,200 hospitals participating in The Leapfrog Group’s annual survey. This year, the Top Rural Hospital list includes a record 13 hospitals.  Additionally, there are 67 Top Urban Hospitals and 12 Top Children’s Hospitals.  Other hospitals reaching this achievement include academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, children’s hospitals, and community hospitals in rural, suburban and urban settings.  The selection is based on the results of the Leapfrog Group’s annual hospital survey, which measures hospitals’ performance on patient safety and quality, focusing on three critical areas of hospital care: how patients fare, resource use, and management structures in place to prevent errors.  The results of the survey are posted on a website ( open to patients and families, the public, employers, and other purchasers of healthcare. As a 2012 Rural Top Hospital, GRMC met specific criteria and standards for safe, high quality care including earning an A in June on the Hospital Safety score.

About The Leapfrog Group
The Leapfrog Group ( is a national organization using the collective leverage of large purchasers of health care to initiate breakthrough improvements in the safety, quality, and affordability of health care for Americans. The flagship Leapfrog Hospital Survey allows purchasers to structure their contracts and purchasing to reward the highest performing hospitals. The Leapfrog Group was founded in November 2000 with support from the Business Roundtable and national funders, and is now independently operated with support from its purchaser and other members.

GRMC to Offer Advance Directive Seminar

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will host an advance directive seminar for the public. This educational presentation will explain the value and need for advance directives in healthcare.

The program is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the GRMC Tomasek Conference Center. All adults are invited to learn about end-of-life wishes and how to put them in writing so that loved ones know what type of care you want in the event of life-threatening conditions.

Class participants will examine their wants and desires not only at end-of-life but also when a major health crisis occurs. The time to discuss these concerns is long before the crisis that calls families together outside of emergency departments or ICUs, a time when emotions are high and logical decisions seems to be difficult to determine.

“This class addresses the difficulty most individuals have with discussing wishes and expectations prior to a death and when medical emergencies occurs.  During a crisis decision making becomes even more complicated and strains family relationships when, in fact, they are all the more important,” explains Randy Svendsen, program presenter and GRMC social worker. “The time to discuss wishes for healthcare is when it can be addressed in a less stressful atmosphere and when you can take the time to respectfully navigate differences.”

In Iowa two documents are available to express wishes and plans for changes in health. These are the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Decisions or the Medical Power of Attorney and the Declaration Relating to Life Sustaining Procedures or the Living Will. The Medical Power of Attorney assigns the responsibility to another person to make healthcare choices for someone when he/she can not. The Living Will states a person’s wishes specifically for healthcare.

Forms will be available at the program, as well as on the web at no cost. Forms are also available by contacting Grinnell Regional Hospice at 641-236-2418.

This seminar is free and open to the public. It begins at 5:30 p.m. with light refreshments served before the program. Please make a reservation by calling 641-236-2418. 

Better Health Class Offered

Grinnell Regional Medical Center will offer the “Better Choices, Better Health” workshop in January. This six-week program provides individuals who have chronic conditions, as well as their caregivers, the tools to manage their health and symptoms better.

The program developed by Stanford University focuses on ways to improve self-management of chronic diseases. Examples of chronic conditions include arthritis, breathing problems or lung disease, stroke, depression or anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, chronic pain, and cancer.

The class meets weekly, for six weeks, beginning Monday, January 7, 2013. Each session is two and a half hours. Over the course of these workshops, individuals will learn techniques and practical methods to deal with pain, fatigue, and isolation; decision-making skills; exercise options and established action plans and goals for physical activity; better nutrition planning and eating choices for better health; communication techniques to begin conversations with physicians and family members about health concerns; tools to manage medications and symptoms; and self-management skills to lead a more productive life.

The class is taught by peer leaders who guide participants as they create their own action plans for improved health. The $20 fee covers the cost of the book and materials. Scholarships are available. For information and to register, call the Grinnell Regional Wellness and Fitness Center at 641-236-2999. 

GRMC’s Bariatric Surgery Center Receives Accreditation from the ACS Bariatric Surgery Center Network

The bariatric surgery center at Grinnell Regional Medical Center has been re-accredited as a Level 1 facility by the Bariatric Surgery Center Network (BSCN) Accreditation Program of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).  This designation of excellence means that Grinnell Regional Medical Center and Grinnell Bariatrics have met the essential criteria that ensure it is fully capable of supporting a bariatric surgery care program and that its institutional performance meets the requirements outlined by the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program.

GRMC partners with Grinnell Bariatrics, a sub-practice of Surgical Associates of Grinnell, to offer a comprehensive surgical weight-loss program. The program was initially accredited in 2006 and has earned re-accreditation every three years. Though the medical center facility earns the accreditation based on the number of cases and protocols, the surgeons David Coster, MD, Nicholas Kuiper, DO; and Mathew Severidt, DO, along with Stefanie Noun, PA-C, and other staff from Surgical Associates and Grinnell Regional Medical Center perform the medical assessments, education, surgery, and follow-up care.

“The BSCN accredits only the best programs in the nation based on stringent criteria. The accreditation requires an absolute team commitment by both the hospital and surgical practice.  During this review we passed with exceptional marks. I’m very proud of the entire team of surgeons, program coordinator, nurses, surgery director, dietitians, exercise therapists, behavioral therapist, and all the others who play an essential role in the care patients receive at GRMC,” says Suzanne Cooner, GRMC vice-president of operations. “Patients receive excellent care in the comfort and environment of a compassionate rural hospital.”

“An additional aspect of this designation is that Grinnell is considered by physicians across the state as the place to go for the most difficult and complex cases, so not only is GRMC a designated Level 1 Center of Excellence, the hospital and our surgeons and management team are the best of the best of those centers in Iowa,” says Coster, medical director for bariatric surgery.

Established by the American College of Surgeons in 2005 in an effort to extend established quality improvement practices to all disciplines of surgical care, the ACS BSCN Accreditation Program provides confirmation that a bariatric surgery center has demonstrated its commitment to providing the highest quality care for its bariatric surgery patients.  Accredited bariatric surgery centers provide not only the hospital resources necessary for optimal care of morbidly obese patients, but also the support and resources that are necessary to address the entire spectrum of care and needs of bariatric patients, from the pre-hospital phase through the postoperative care and treatment process. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recognized GRMC and allows expanded Medicare coverage of bariatric surgery for beneficiaries of all ages who have been diagnosed with other health problems associated with obesity.  Medicare coverage has been limited to procedures performed in facilities certified by the American College of Surgeons or the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery.

In the United States, more than 11 million people suffer from severe obesity, and the numbers continue to increase.  Obesity increases the risks of morbidity and mortality because of the diseases and conditions that are commonly associated with it, such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among other health risks.  At the present time, weight-loss surgery provides the only effective, lasting relief from severe obesity.  Therefore, the ACS believes it is of utmost importance to extend its quality initiatives to accrediting bariatric surgery centers so that it can assist the public in identifying those facilities that provide optimal surgical care for patients who undergo this surgical procedure.