The Sanford Mayville Medical Center is one of the top-20 critical-access hospitals in the country, according to the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).
The NRHA uses data about quality, patient perspectives and nancial stability to rank rural hospitals across the state annually.
Mayville’s Sanford campus received an overall rating of 99.2 making it one of the top 20 in the nation. The facility scored 99.6 in the value category and 85.8 in risk.
“It’s a very nice surprise,” CEO Roger Baier said of the award. He credits the high ratings to the dedication and knowledge of the facility’s staff. “We have 73 employees including the clinic with an average of 17.66 years of service.”
Baier traveled to Kansas City, Mo., earlier this month to accept the award. The announcement was officially made during the 2015 Critical Access Hospital Conference.
The factors used to rank facilities included competitive strength, intensity, market size and growth, population risk, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspectives and nancial stability.
The data compares 1,300 critical access hospitals across the country. These are hospitals that have 25 beds or fewer with an emergency room and an average stay of four days or less, according to director of nursing Doris Vigen.
Of the 43 hospitals in North Da-kota, 36 are critical access facilities
“As a critical access hospital we see our role as a stabilizer and transferring,” Vigen said. The facility is set up to handle everything from the common cold to stabilizing victims of major trauma.
Although patients have access to specialists from larger facilities, it’s nice when the staff already knows a patient and can help make them comfortable, Vigen said.
“There’s a very good chance that you know someone coming in the door and that helps you strive to do your very best,” she explained. “These are your friends, family and neighbors.”
The smaller staffinng also helps the hospital and clinic implement specific changes that improve patient experiences from the clinic to the hospital.
For example, during the past two years, staff have been working diligently to reduce the number of patients who fall during a visit, Vigen said.
“This is one part that everyone here is working very hard on. In 2014 we only had one fall, this year we have had two so far,” she said.
Reducing patient falls is a team effort, Vigen explained. This includes giving nurses tools to avoid falls including belts, white boards for notes and even new areas in the clinic designed to prevent falls. It also means everyone working at the facility must recognize situations that can create falls.
“If a housekeeper sees something that can create a fall, they will speak up about it,” she explained.
Baier agreed that the teamwork mentality exhibited by staff at the facility goes a long way to ensure patients have a positive experience.
But it’s the dedication of the staff that sets the facility above and beyond other hospitals, he said.
“When there is a blizzard in the forecast, a lot of times you will see people scheduled for a shift come in before the blizzard hits to make sure they are here for their shift,” Baier said. “They will stay overnight just to be here for their patients.”
Vigen said that type of dedication is common, and helps the facility continue to strive for the ever-evolving target of quality medical care.
“That’s the big piece of the picture,” Vigen said. “We are working hard to not just have quality, but to improve our quality all of the time.”