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West Penn Allegheny Health System Named One of Nation's Leaders in Patient Care Quality and Efficiency

Thomson Reuters Analysis Places Pittsburgh Physician-Led Health System Among Country’s Top 51 Performers, Exclusive Honor in Region

Pittsburgh, PA (Vocus) June 25, 2010 -- West Penn Allegheny Health System (WPAHS) has been named to an exclusive list of the country’s top performing health care systems based on patient care quality and efficiency. The analysis, conducted by Thomson Reuters and published in this week’s Modern Healthcare Magazine, places WPAHS among the 51 best U.S. healthcare systems. West Penn Allegheny is the only healthcare provider in Western Pennsylvania and one of just three in Pennsylvania to earn the distinction.

The second annual 100 Top Hospitals: Health System Benchmarks study by Thompson Reuters evaluated all 255 healthcare systems across the country, comprising 1,903 hospitals and representing 6.7 million Medicare discharges.

To be included in the study, systems had to have at least two acute care hospitals with a minimum of 25 beds each. The study incorporated clinical outcomes information obtained from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review 2007 and 2008 data sets as well as from the CMS Hospital Compare data set published in the third quarter of 2009.

Health systems were ranked by Thomson Reuters on eight measures of clinical quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. Those earning a position in the top quintile of the analysis demonstrated superior outcomes in all measures with scores reflecting aggregated data across the entire healthcare system.

Among the study’s conclusions, top performing health systems had 16% lower patient mortality, 18% fewer complications and 16% fewer patient safety incidents than systems in the bottom quintile of the study. Additionally, top quintile systems demonstrated better core measure patient compliance, had fewer mortalities and readmissions after 30 days, 15% shorter hospital stays and boasted a 6% higher hospital rating.

“There is no more important measure of a health system’s strength and value to the community than the quality of its programs and the healthcare professionals who direct them. We are extremely gratified to be recognized by Thomson Reuters as the patient care quality leader among Western Pennsylvania healthcare systems. It is a benchmark that is consistent with West Penn Allegheny’s history and central to its future as we continue our progress in realigning the System to better fulfill its mission and ensure its long-term viability,” said Christopher T. Olivia, MD, WPAHS President and Chief Executive Officer.

According to Jean Chenoweth, Senior Vice President for Performance Improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters, top performing healthcare systems tend to have centralized oversight of performance improvement.

Commenting in Modern Healthcare, Chenoweth said; “Where the health system boards have taken responsibility for quality and are actively insisting on standards and goals across the system and monitoring progress, you will see much greater alignment and much faster improvement across the hospitals in the System.”

West Penn Allegheny’s Board of Directors, which includes six physician leaders from the organization, has assumed just such a role in helping advance the System’s quality initiatives and chart its performance, said Sanford Kurtz, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer and President of the WPAHS Physician Organization.

“I have been most impressed by our board’s accountability and attention to the critical issue of patient care quality and its unwavering support of our endeavors to not only maintain the highest standards of care but set new standards as well,” said Dr. Kurtz.


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