Baystate Strives to Make Quality a Top Priority

SPRINGFIELD — With the successful completion of one pioneering health-quality initiative, new participation in another, and a third consecutive national recognition from U.S. News and World Report, Baystate Medical Center is continuing its leadership in ensuring that patients here and across the country receive high-quality care.

The hospital is one of about 250 hospitals in the nation to join a six-year pilot program with the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services and the Premier Healthcare Alliance. The initiative, known as the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration, rewards hospitals for meeting or exceeding specific benchmarks for high-quality care, and is seen by many experts as a precursor of coming reform-driven changes in health care that would tie providers’ financial reimbursements more directly to patient outcomes.

At the conclusion of the project’s fourth year, Baystate Medical Center (BMC) was named a top performer for hip and knee replacement, and was recognized for continued success in all four of the other clinical areas on which the project focused: acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, pneumonia, and coronary artery bypass surgery.

Hospitals participating in the project have treated more than 1.5 million patients in those five clinical areas and saved the lives of approximately 4,700 heart-attack patients. Premier data also showed that hospitals participating in the project scored higher, on average, in broadly accepted measures of quality than non-participants did.

“We’re constantly measuring ourselves against best-practice standards, sharing experiences and continually getting better,” said Dr. Evan Benjamin, vice president of Healthcare Quality for Baystate Health. “The most direct beneficiaries are our patients locally, but we and our partner hospitals are developing an understanding of effective — and cost-effective — care that could improve patient outcomes across the country for years to come.”

Baystate Health also recently became a charter member of Premier’s project called Quest: High-Performing Hospitals, which aims to build on current quality and safety initiatives to drive health care to new levels of performance. In the project, Baystate Medical Center has achieved top performance in the areas of quality, mortality, and low cost of care. Baystate, the area’s only teaching hospital and only level 1 trauma center, is also a mentor hospital in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Five Million Lives campaign to promote quality care and patient safety.

Accompanying this work to promote quality health care is national recognition; this year, Baystate Medical Center was again named a top hospital by U.S. News and World Report. The hospital’s Endocrine and Diabetes Disorders program led the recognition for a third consecutive year.

“We do so much work to advance the understanding of quality health care throughout the nation, it’s very rewarding to see our institution being recognized for its own quality,” said Dr. Loring Flint, senior vice president of Medical Affairs for Baystate Health. “People are taking a greater interest in the quality of the care they receive than ever before, and rightly so. We are committed to continuously striving to provide better and more efficient care for all of our patients.”

Baystate Medical Center last year established a new Center for Quality of Care Research, tasked with improving the care and outcomes of patients here and across the country by developing innovative methods to measure the quality and outcomes of care, evaluating the effectiveness of common treatments, and improving care delivery through the design, implementation, and assessment of new approaches in medicine.