The guest column below was published in
El Defensor Chieftain on October 24, 2019.
By Veronica Pound, RN, Hospital Chief Executive, Socorro General Hospital
We all seek out quality, whether we are buying a new car or a pair of running shoes. But when it comes to your health, ensuring high quality care is especially, even critically, important.
At Socorro General Hospital (SGH), I am fortunate to lead a team that strives for continuous improvement in the quality of care we provide to our community. Several recent awards showcase this intense focus in areas such as quality, patient experience, infant and maternal care, home healthcare and hospice, and even our supply chain (the products that we purchase).
Most recently, at the Sept. 25 New Mexico Hospital Association annual meeting, SGH was named one of the top performers in New Mexico for our focus on improving patient safety through the Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), a program funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. SGH was named one of the top five rural hospitals in the state.
Earlier this year, our Home Health program was also one of three home health agencies in the state to receive a 2018 Quality Award for demonstrating a commitment to excellence. In addition, we received a HealthInsight HHCAHPS Performance Recognition Certificate for our scores on a national survey of home health care patients. In fact, one of our recent surveys showed that 100 percent of our home health patients in this community say they would recommend our care – and that means the world to us.
I am also proud of our hospice program, which provides specialized care for people facing a life-limiting illness, as well as their families and caregivers. Since 2018, our dedicated hospice team began providing care for residents at Good Samaritan Society and this year we also began serving residents at Country Living Residential Care.
HealthInsight also recognized our outpatient Socorro Medical Group clinic earlier this year for its commitment to improving performance and promoting patient-centered care with a High Performance Award. This award recognized clinics that have achieved above the 75th percentile on national benchmarks on key measures, such as whether they participated in important health screenings, like colonoscopies and mammograms. Basically, this award recognizes how well we partner with our patients to stay healthy and keep any health concerns in check.
Diabetes management is one example of how we think about quality care at SGH. For those patients with diabetes, our goal is to ensure that their condition is well-managed. How do we do this? Through a team approach that closely tracks key metrics like blood sugar, as well as care managers who work with patients by phone, clinic staff who closely monitor elevated blood pressure readings and schedule follow-up visits with our nurses.
In 2018, we earned the prestigious Baby-Friendly® birth facility designation, which recognizes hospitals and birthing centers that offer breastfeeding mothers the information, confidence and skills needed to successfully initiate and continue breastfeeding their babies. For our team's hard work to become Baby-Friendly, we were awarded the Quest for Excellence Award by the NMHA in 2018.
What do all these awards mean for the average patient? In one word – trust.
My hope is that they reinforce the trust that you place in us to care for you – whether you are here to deliver your baby or need care at the end of life -- right here in your own community.