Federal government rankings show HMH strength in infection control

3-star quality rating reinforces importance of Emergency Dept. expansion

ELIZABETHTOWN, Ky. – Hardin Memorial Health’s (HMH) infection control efforts continue to rank above the national average according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) ratings released this week. The federal government rankings show the hospital is at or above the national average in most categories, earning HMH a three-star rating.

“With any national ranking or report, we want to achieve the highest rating and have zero deficiencies because that means we are providing the highest quality patient care,” said Sharon Wright, HMH’s Chief Nursing Officer. “This recent CMS ranking shows us that the evidence-based infections control measures we use are having a positive impact and that the Emergency Department expansion is very necessary.”

Wright cited several infection control practices that helped improve scores including the use of ultra violet light cleaning equipment; stronger, longer-lasting antibacterial cleansers; personal protection equipment for isolation patients; protocols that limit catheter use; and mandating stringent hand washing.

In 2015 and 2016, when the data for this CMS ranking was collected, “timeliness of care” scores in the HMH Emergency Department (ED) were below the national average. In September 2015, HMH began construction on 14,000 square-foot ED expansion. 

Originally built to serve 40,000 patients annually, the HMH ED cares for more than 70,000 patients a year, making it Kentucky’s fourth busiest. Phase three of construction is scheduled for completion in early 2018.

Wright said more recent data shows a steady improvement in ED timeliness thanks in part to the additional space phase two construction provided. She mentioned that additional exam rooms and a dedicated CT scan and X-ray room with digital imaging made dramatic improvements in speeding up care.

Wright also touted the highly-skilled and caring ED team who provide whatever patients need 24/7, 7 days a week in the midst of these renovations.

“Emergency care is already extremely stressful,” said Wright. “Providing that care in the middle of renovations and new construction speaks volumes about the talent and dedication of the ED team.”

“Every one of these national ratings and rankings are an opportunity to learn and improve so we can do the very best for our patients,” said Wright. “We will dive deep into these new results and evaluate our work.”

Of the 84 hospitals rated in Kentucky, only 33 earned three stars, 20 received four stars and two received five stars.

The specific measures and overall ranking are available at CMS’ Hospital Compare website, medicare.gov/hospitalcompare.