WILLIAMSPORT - It was a proud moment for the Williamsport Regional Medical Center, as the facility was lauded for its care to heart, spine surgery and knee and hip replacement patients.
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pa. awarded the hospital three "Blue Distinction" awards for quality care in the three categories during a press conference Wednesday.
BCNEPA Vice President Dr. Leo Hartz said this is the first time any hospital in the region has received three such awards at one time.
Dr. Hartz said heart attack patients visiting Susquehanna Health's center can count on a facility with a mortality rate that's better than 90 percent of the hospitals in America.
He also noted readmission rates were less than 5 percent for cardiac patients, individuals seeking spine operations and those having knee and hip replacement procedures, much below the national average.
"The distinctions demonstrate the hospital's commitment to get care right the first time, one of the best ways to keep health care costs down in an era of health care reform," Dr. Hartz said.
To be considered for the distinctions, medical facilities can apply in the categories of bariatric surgery, cardiac care, complex and rare cancers, knee and hip replacement, spine surgery and transplants.
The insurance companies judge the overall excellence of specific programs with a scoring system based on objective criteria, including treatment data reported by the facilities, in collaboration with well-known medical societies and other health care experts.
"At Susquehanna Health we place a strong focus on safety and quality for our patients," said Dr. George Manchester. "Patients expect and deserve it and our physicians and employee service partners help us to provide it. These recognitions certainly validate the efforts we make every day to keep our patients safe and to provide excellent clinical care."
Noting the amount of work necessary to raise the bar to this level, Dr. Manchester joked, "We are tired ... but enthusiastic about the fruits of our labor. I am very proud of our physicians and staff."
"Acknowledgments like these are particularly significant today as they address the key issues that are part of national health care reform," Dr. Manchester added. "We believe we are well positioned to continue to provide safe, efficient and quality care for our patients."
BCNEPA, headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, offers services to approximately 600,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania.
Susquehanna Health is a three-hospital integrated health system including Divine Providence Hospital, Muncy Valley Hospital and the Williamsport Regional Medical Center. The system serves patients from an 11-county region with a broad array of services including cancer treatment, heart and vascular, neuroscience, physical rehabilitation, orthopedics, home care, long term care, behavioral health, urology, gastrointestinal services, paramedic and ambulance services.