Benewah Community Hospital was rated “exceptional” by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

CMS is required by law to implement a quality control program which rewards participating clinics based on patient care outcomes and cost efficiency.

The program known as the Merit-based Incentive Payment System measured the hospital for quality, improvement, interoperability and cost. Much of the program measurements are based on patient data and treatment according to BCH CEO Liz Sellers.

“There is so much data you have to gather on patients. A lot of it is patients being seen in a timely fashion, communication with patients and developing their plan of action.” Ms. Sellers said.

Ms. Sellers said the hospital also improved its electronic record keeping, which also factored into the score.

“We have improved our data collection and have a more comprehensive system for the transfer of information,” Ms. Sellers said.

Patient care, as assessed by MIPS, includes care coordination such as communicating records and test results with patients and appropriate facilities.

Many of the challenge areas are universal to all healthcare facilities, according to Ms. Sellers.

“Access to healthcare, financial stability, electronic medical records and basic data collection processes, thorough quality care of patients are challenges with any facility,” Ms Sellers said. “We’re not isolated in that regard—there are many facilities that struggle with CMS rules regulations and requirements.”

However, rural hospitals may have a more difficult time achieving a high score in the MIPS program. Medical facilities can choose different areas in which their performance can be measured, but rural facilities are often prescribed categories of evaluation.

“A lot of the time measures are predetermined for rural health clinics,” Ms. Sellers said.

Measurements are based on data submitted by the hospital and then scored by CMS. BCH received an 82.2 percent.

“This is very difficult for facilities; it takes a team to build high quality outcomes,” Ms. Sellers said. “Benewah Community Hospital is on the right track ... St. Maries is very fortunate to have exceptional providers.”

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