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PinnacleHealth Stands Out in Highmark Quality Blue Report

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PinnacleHealth Is Among the Top Hospitals in Low Infection Rates and Low Readmission Rates

In Highmark Blue Shield’s Quality Blue Hospital Pay for Performance report, PinnacleHealth consistently scored among the top hospitals in central and western Pennsylvania and West Virginia in several important measures including low readmission rates and low infection rates. 
In the report:
  • Of the top 25 hospitals in volume, PinnacleHealth had the lowest readmission rates within 30 days, despite having a higher severity rate than the other facilities.
  • PinnacleHealth had one of the lowest central-line associated blood stream infection rates.
  • PinnacleHealth had one of the lowest catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates.
  • PinnacleHealth had one of the lowest rates of C-section surgical site infections.
“These are critical measures of patient safety and a special focus of PinnacleHealth,” said Michael A. Young, PinnacleHealth president and CEO. “While we are proud of these results, we know our work isn’t done. We are continuing to develop innovative programs that are making significant progress in several key areas including infection rates, patient safety, sepsis improvement and readmission rates.” 
A key initiative to success was transforming the roles of clinical support staff and how the care teams function within physician practices. This included implementing care team huddles and pre-visit planning and chart preparation processes. Patient charts are reviewed in advance of an appointment to identify gaps in care, even for unrelated complaints. 

Within PinnacleHealth Hospitals, Central Line-Associated Bloodstream infections are prevented through the adoption of an evidence-based, nationally recommended bundle of care. Care bundles, in general, are groupings of best practices that individually improve care, and when applied together result in substantially better outcomes. In order to prevent infection, physicians, nurses and IV team members utilize the care bundle from the time the central line is inserted until it is removed when no longer medically necessary.  
Another example is implementing best practices for the transition of care process. Important communication occurs during an inpatient stay and again during the transition to home. This is a great opportunity to touch the patient in a more comprehensive way by checking to ensure that all the needed services and supports are being provided, the care plan is understood by patients and families and addresses any other practical concerns that the patient may have. 

“PinnacleHealth has been a leader when it comes to focusing on quality and patient safety. For many years, not just 2013, they have put significant effort into this area,” said Matt Vogel, vice president of Provider Contracting and Relations at Highmark Blue Shield. “They continually demonstrate making this kind of work part of the culture at the hospital system.”
Highmark’s Quality BLUE Hospital Pay-for-Performance Program supports health care providers as they work to improve patient safety and care quality. The goals of the Quality BLUE program are to align provider reimbursement with performance and build performance excellence into everyday health care operations. 
The program rewards participating hospitals using evidence-based practices and industry standards established by national quality organizations, such as the American Heart Association, the Surgical Care Improvement Project, National Quality Forum, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  
“We are pleased to work with Highmark in this program that helps drive improved clinical outcomes,” said Young. 
About PinnacleHealth System
PinnacleHealth is a pioneer not-for-profit healthcare system dedicated to improving the health and quality of life for the people of Central Pennsylvania since 1873. A proven leader in medical innovation, PinnacleHealth offers a wide range of services from primary care to the most complex surgeries and Magnet recognition for nursing excellence. The healthcare network includes four campuses (Community, West Shore, Harrisburg and Polyclinic). The West Shore Hospital will open in Hampden Township in 2014. The five-story hospital will include 108 beds with an emergency department, medical/surgical care, cardiology, orthopedics, chronic disease management, and private patient rooms. PinnacleHealth is part of RiverHealth ACO, an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). Medical services, including family practice, imaging, outpatient surgery and oncology are offered at multiple locations throughout the region. For a complete list of services, visit our website at