Emergency room nurse Marie Kettle, left, and medical records supervisor Susan Erikson pose with The Memorial Hospital's five-star 2006 Exceeding Patient Expectations award they received this week from Avatar International. Hospital officials said the staff - those who work one-on-one with customers - deserve the credit.

Photo by Michelle Balleck

Emergency room nurse Marie Kettle, left, and medical records supervisor Susan Erikson pose with The Memorial Hospital's five-star 2006 Exceeding Patient Expectations award they received this week from Avatar International. Hospital officials said the staff - those who work one-on-one with customers - deserve the credit.

The Memorial Hospital receives award for patient care

When a patient was hospitalized during her 25th wedding anniversary, The Memorial Hospital staff organized a private, candlelit dinner for the patient and her husband to help them celebrate.

Beka Warren, TMH's chief quality officer, said acts like that make the hospital's staff special.

It's also what helped earn them a national award for patient care.

"We've been really trying to please our customers," Warren said. "We think it's important that people are satisfied and that we exceed our expectations."

For five years, the hospital has participated in Avatar International Inc.'s program that surveys TMH's customers following their treatment there.

Surveys ask about cleanliness, timeliness and whether their care was fully explained, among a number of other topics.

"We get back some very detailed reports," Warren said. "It tells us how we are perceived."

Avatar reports the hospital is perceived well by patients, evident by the hospital earning the five-star 2006 Exceeding Patient Expectations award. Hospital officials learned of the honor Wednesday and presented the award to staff Friday.

"We should take great pride that our work is being recognized," CEO George Rohrich said to the staff. "You guys are doing a hell of a good job."

Warren said she thinks the hospital won the award a few years ago, but can't remember exactly when.

"We aren't focused on the old awards," she said.

Instead, Warren said the hospital staff is centered on meeting and exceeding standards, which it has done, both with Avatar's award and the recent recognition it received from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

TMH officials were notified July 7 that they have met 100 percent of standards the commission sets. The hospital is spontaneously evaluated at least once every three years.

Rohrich said the two honors - coupled with this year's financial success - signify the hospital's progress.

"The hospital has developed a forward, successful momentum," Rohrich said. "You can feel it, you can see it when you come into the hospital."

Rohrich, who began as the hospital's administrator in March 2006, has been a large part of that change, Warren said. But Rohrich said he doesn't deserve the credit.

"I don't care for the patients : these are the people who are doing the work," he said. "I'm just really proud to work with this staff of people."

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or mperry@craigdailypress.com.

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