All Kansans should be extremely pleased with Thursday’s announcement that KU Hospital in Kansas City has been ranked second, among 96 eligible hospitals in the nation, in quality and safety. This high honor was awarded by the University HealthSystem Consortium’s 2009 Quality and Accountability Study.
In many ways, the KU Hospital recognition may be the most exceptional since the study began ranking hospitals five years ago. At the outset, KU Hospital was ranked 33rd in the nation. In subsequent years, it jumped to 11th place, then fifth, back to 11th and now No. 2.
This all started when Irene Thompson (formerly Irene Cumming) was president and chief executive officer of the hospital. She had the commitment, leadership and determination to have the hospital improve in all areas: quality of care, patient satisfaction, costs, length of patient stays, survival rates for patients with extremely serious medical problems, housekeeping and the morale of employees at the hospital, doctors as well as nurses, administrative staff and janitorial help.
It worked, and KU Hospital started to climb in national rankings, but even more important, the hospital became known as a superior center for medical care. At the start of this meteoric rise, the number of hospital patients was low and many beds were empty.
Word of KU Hospital’s excellence spread quickly, and now the hospital enjoys perhaps the highest patient occupancy figure of any Kansas City Hospital. In fact, many times, they are out of space.
Because of various pressures, Thompson was forced to resign. She was succeeded by Bob Page, who had been her top assistant. Page, along with his associates, has continued to make KU Hospital a superior facility in every respect.
They realize it is a high honor to be judged as the nation’s No. 2 academic medical center in quality and safety, but it is an even more daunting task to remain in this lofty position or aim for the top spot. There are 95 other hospital executives trying to improve their own facilities and challenge KU for national honors.
The excellence of KU Hospital and the commitment of Page and his associates are great news for greater Kansas City residents, as well as those living throughout the state.
They can be assured they will receive superior care at the hospital, a hospital that devotes so much attention not only to its excellence in medical treatment but also to many other important facets of a hospital visit such as length of stay, costs, recovery rates and patient satisfaction.
There’s no sense of complacency or satisfaction by Page and his associates. When he learned of the award, his response was, “Thanks to the continued commitment to outstanding patient care and outcomes by our team of caregivers, we keep moving closer to our goal of being the nation’s best hospital.”
In addition to numerous other awards, it is interesting to note KU Hospital also ranks first in the area for benefit of the community in a survey of hospitals by the Missouri Hospital Association. This is the third year in a row KU Hospital has received this Missouri recognition.
Congratulations, as well as thanks, to all those at KU Hospital for the excellent care they provide.