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(Courtesy Photo)

(Courtesy Photo)

This month, Governor Susana Martinez issued a proclamation designating the week of May 8-14 as National Hospital Week in New Mexico. The governor cited the important contributions made by the state’s hospitals to the health of New Mexico’s communities and the economic wellbeing of the state.

Artesia General Hospital and the 45 members of the New Mexico Hospital Association (NMHA) are deeply committed to advancing the quality of care delivered to hospital patients in the state. Through the dedicated efforts of healthcare professionals here in Artesia and across New Mexico, the state has achieved significant gains in quality and patient safety in recent years.

Artesia General Hospital is among the 30 NMHA member hospitals who participate in one of 17 Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help reduce the preventable complications that can be experienced by hospital patients. Nationwide, since the launch of the CMS Partnership for Patients in 2010, more than 1 million complications and adverse events were avoided in hospitals, resulting in 87,000 fewer patient deaths and nearly $20 billion in healthcare cost savings.

Here in New Mexico, between 2012 and 2014, HENs reduced harm by 31 percent and saved an estimated $5 million.

A key factor in these and other improvements has been patient and family involvement. Partnering with patients, families and other caregivers has been shown to improve quality and safety and to transform the culture in hospitals. The NMHA has promoted patient and family engagement through educational sessions, speakers, patient and family resources for hospitals, and support of legislation to include lay caregivers in the planning process when patients are discharged from the hospital.

Artesia General Hospital is currently focusing on fall prevention, which has been undertaken as part of the participation in Hospital Engagement Networks (HEN), a national patient safety improvement effort.

Recently, AGH was awarded a “grade A” in the State of New Mexico Leapfrog Hospital Safety Score ratings. Selected as the only hospital with an A rating in the State of New Mexico, Kenneth Randall, chief executive officer, is pleased that the efforts of his staff were recognized.

Leapfrog is a national nonprofit organization driving a movement for giant leaps forward in the quality and safety of American health care. Leapfrog assigns report card letter grades to hospitals based on their record of patient safety, helping consumers protect themselves and their families from errors, injuries, accidents and infections.

In a similar vein, Hospital Compare Data shows that AGH has a star rating of four out of a possible five. With 41 New Mexico hospitals being compared, there were no five stars, and AGH was one of seven with a five-star rating. The majority of New Mexico hospitals ranked in the two- and three-star levels.

Randall also is proud to share that the Radiology Department is fully accredited by the American College of Radiology in CT, MRI, mammography and ultrasound. The Nuclear Medicine Department has been awarded the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. AGH is one of only two hospitals in the State of New Mexico that can claim this accolade. He also shares that all staff of the Geri-Psych Senior Care Unit have earned Dementia Care Specialist Certification. The Laboratory is CAP accredited with special qualifications awarded by the College of American Pathologists.

Besides rankings and certifications, Randall is proud that The Bone and Joint Destination Center offers the only robotic surgery capabilities in the state and that AGH offers specialized treatment for GERD with Stretta therapy. Many Americans suffer from GERD, which can lead to other health complications. AGH’s general surgeon is one of the few physicians in the State of New Mexico with this specialized training.

As well, construction continues at the hospital to enhance service areas to better serve the region.

“National Hospital Week provides an opportunity to recognize the contributions made by our employees,” says Randall. “Although I am extremely proud of my team and the care that they give our patients each and every week, it’s always a pleasure to find a special reason, like National Hospital Week, to remind them of their achievements.”