Yampa Valley Medical Center was awarded the 2014 Navigator Award for Business of the Year.

Photo by John F. Russell

Yampa Valley Medical Center was awarded the 2014 Navigator Award for Business of the Year.

YVMC participates in program to reduce patient harms


— A series of follow-up protocol for patients getting discharged from Yampa Valley Medical Center is putting the Steamboat Springs hospital on course to have zero preventable patient harm.

The medical center and more than 30 others in Colorado participated in a three-year quality improvement project led by the Colorado Hospital Association.

The project was part of a nationwide campaign called Partnerships for Patients, aimed at reducing patient harm, including adverse drug events, readmissions and surgical site infections by 40 percent and reducing avoidable readmissions by 20 percent.

Improvements made at hospitals mean patients are less likely to develop post-surgery infections, be injured in a fall or have to return to the hospital for additional care within 30 days.

The project ran from January 2012 to June 2014, but the standards implemented at Yampa Valley Medical Center have carried on past the project’s completion.

“We have set a course for zero preventable harm,” YVMC chief nursing officer Marie Timlin said. “We are building a culture of continuous improvement that supports the delivery of care that is safe, timely, effective, equitable and patient centered — [or] STEEP.”

Timlin said efforts by staff to reduce patient harm have led to positive results, including the reduction of the hospital’s preventable readmission rate, which is currently at 6 percent, well below the national average of 16 percent or higher.

The hospital’s inpatient fall rate has been reduced by more than 40 percent since 2013, and YVMC is one of only a handful of Colorado hospitals with a rate of zero ventilator-associated pneumonia incidents in intensive care units.

Statewide, the project’s results saved hospitals an estimated $14.8 million during the life of the project and prevented 2,800 patient harms.

YVMC has implemented post-discharge phone calls, opened an outpatient pharmacy and created automated discharge instructions as part of the staff’s effort to reduce preventable harm.

“The discharge phone calls allow a nurse to ensure that the patient understands their follow-up treatment and responsibilities after being discharged from the hospital,” Timlin said. “The outpatient pharmacy allows a hospital pharmacist to go over new prescriptions with patients before being discharged so they understand their new medications, and the new discharge instructions include diagrams and standardized instructions that are easier for patients to read and follow.”

Nationwide, the Partnerships for Patients program achieved a 17 percent reduction in patient harm, estimating 50,000 fewer deaths and $12 billion in savings to hospitals.

More information about the project can be found at the Colorado Hospital Association’s site, www.cha.com.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow


bill schurman 2 years, 2 months ago

Missing in the article is that Medicare "punishes" hospitals regarding readmissions within 30 days of discharge.


Neil O'Keeffe 2 years, 2 months ago

"our system is biased toward over treatment, not under treatment." More precisely our system is biased toward OVERCHARGING. We don't have the best healthcare in the world we quite simply have the most expensive so we can pat ourselves on the back for that. Did anyone see the 60 Minutes segment a few weeks back regarding how Non-profit hospitals are gouging their patients with unjustifiably high rates for everything from aspirin to MRI's and how the non profit status is allowing them to make outrageous profits at the expense of our entire healthcare system? YVMC leads the way in over charging locals with or without insurance, how many of us with high deductibles find our way to Denver, Frisco and even Craig for procedures that are 2-3 times higher in Steamboat? Yes thank you YVMC for assuring that I and many other locals like me will never use your wonderful facility.

It won't be long before YVMC forms there own insurance company to give back to the locals and make our healthcare more accessible to all, at least that is what many of the much bigger non-profit hospitals are doing supposedly in the name of making healthcare more affordable which we really know is soley to maximize their profit margins. Thanks for all that you do YVMC, NON PROFIT MY A$$. Talk about Corporate Welfare.


Martha D Young 2 years, 2 months ago

"YVMC participates in program to 'reduce patient harms'" ????? What does that mean? What are patients harming?


Eric Morris 2 years, 2 months ago

Neil, your comment reminds me of the old saying: "The only people profiting at a non-profit are the senior executives" (and many times the board members, when boards are paid; not the case at YVMC). Sadly, much of that "profit" in the hospital business goes to admins who are not former medical professionals. The perverse incentive is smarter people will pursue MBAs and MHAs rather than MDs and RNs. Cheaper, easier, no long hours during residency, no license fees, and definitely no med mal.


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