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McCullough-Hyde Hospital: A suture above the rest

By Emily C. Tate
On April 29, 2014

On the morning of Tuesday, March 18, Miami first-year Amanda Mickus said she woke up to the worst pain of her life - a sharp, stabbing sensation across her abdomen with no obvious explanation.

By Wednesday night, the severe pain had left her completely immobile; she could not even reach her cell phone to answer a call from her anxious mother.

Fortunately for Mickus, less than a mile down the road from her first-year residence hall was Oxford's McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, recently recognized as one of America's Best in Emergency Care by the Women's Choice Award for 2014.

After two overnight stays and her first surgery, Mickus had only positive things to say of the McCullough-Hyde staff she encountered and the care they provided her. The award could not have been given to a more deserving hospital, she said.

"The nurses were so incredible," Mickus said. "My parents weren't there, which was terrifying, so one of the nurses, Sheila, was like my mom for the day. She came in, sat on my bed and held me while I cried."

This level of attentive, personal care is nothing out of the ordinary for the staff of McCullough-Hyde, Vice President and Chief Patient Services Officer Pam Collins said.

"Our care is timely, it's personal," she said. "We recognize the emotional and spiritual needs of our patients and that's part of the care we provide as well."

Though this is the first time McCullough-Hyde has received the award, Collins said the hospital staff have always focused on patient care.

In her office, surrounded by stacks of paper filed away into every cabinet and cubbyhole, Collins began to procure all sorts of surveys, data reports and personalized letters to the hospital, all of which bore positive feedback and statistics on the hospital's treatment quality. The Women's Choice Award used many of these documents when considering McCullough-Hyde for their award.

Approximately 3,600 of the 5,700 hospitals in the United States reported sufficient data to be evaluated for the award, Collins said. Of those, only 241 were recognized for it, including McCullough Hyde.

"Now that's pretty significant," she said.

The Women's Choice Award examined several factors when selecting from the hospitals in question. For one, the hospitals honored with the Emergency Care Award had to be in the top 25 percent for their emergency department's performance, according to the Women's Choice Award website.

Additionally, the hospital's HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) ratings had to be high, Collins said.

"HCAHPS is a national patient satisfaction survey," she said. "To be considered, we had to have solid HCAHPS ratings. Factors considered include communication with nurses and doctors, responsiveness of hospital staff, cleanliness of hospital and preparation for discharge."

Collins said McCullough-Hyde focuses especially on providing safety, a comfortable environment, and courtesy and respect to their patients, which ultimately leads to overall satisfaction with the hospital experience.

"For example," she said, "91 percent of our obstetric patients would 'definitely' recommend this hospital to friends and family. The national average [for obstetric patients' satisfaction] is only 71 percent, meaning we rank significantly higher than most."

As for McCullough-Hyde's emergency department, satisfaction levels are remarkably high as well.

"In this last reporting period, we measured about 35 aspects of emergency care provided on an ongoing basis," Collins said. "For the first quarter of 2014, from January to March, recommendations of McCullough-Hyde emergency care services are 92 percent."

Though the Women's Choice Award was created to provide women with trustworthy brands and businesses recommended by other women, the Emergency Care Award is valuable to men, women and children alike, as McCullough-Hyde offers the same high-quality care to all of its patients, Collins said.

At that, she began digging through a drawer in her desk, flipping past several different tabs, and pulled out a letter written to the hospital. This particular letter was written by a parent about his son, a Miami senior at the time, who had been hospitalized at McCullough-Hyde after a night of excessive binge drinking.

"Our son nearly died due to an unfortunate incident," the letter read. " ... He subsequently received excellent care. When my wife and I arrived from Boston the next morning, not knowing whether or not he was still alive, we were greeted warmly and compassionately by the women at the front desk and gently guided up to ICU. We were overjoyed to find him still breathing ... "

As Collins read the letter aloud, she placed extra emphasis on the words "warmly and compassionately" and "gently guided," even reading back over them a few times.

"This letter tells you not just about the emergency department," she said, "but it tells you about the hospital and how we work together across all departments to make each patient's experience and situation meet the needs that are present."

Though Amanda Mickus was only admitted to McCullough-Hyde for kidney stones, the hospital staff recognized that she was nervous and scared and tended to her promptly.

"I was never waiting very long," Mickus said. "They were very quick and it was clear their priority was to get me out of pain."

McCullough-Hyde keeps record of its "door-to-doctor" time - that is, the amount of time it takes for a patient to see the doctor once they have first arrived at the hospital -and even that number stands out. In 2012, the door-to-doctor time at McCullough-Hyde was only 17 minutes, while the national average was 28 minutes. Mickus detected the difference.

"I was probably in [the waiting room] for maybe ten minutes before they took me back into a room, gave me an IV and gave me pain medicine," she said. "They were so fast."

Collins said these kinds of communications, the letters to the hospital and the positive feedback from patients, just further prove that McCullough-Hyde does not provide service alone, they provide care.

"What makes us different? We genuinely take an interest in our patients," Collins said. "What makes us special? We like being here, we love the work that we do and we love providing excellent patient care."

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