June 30, 2008 13:21 ET

21 Hospitals in Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee Come Together to Focus on Improving Clinical Quality and Patient Safety

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - June 30, 2008) - Twenty-one hospitals across Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee have come together to focus on improving clinical quality and patient safety as they relate to heart failure discharge instructions and surgical care. The hospitals have joined what's known as a Rapid Adoption Network (RAN), a virtual network that will allow them to share information about their clinical practices for the purpose of accelerating the pace of clinical improvement, cutting improvement time to less than one year. The RAN is sponsored by VHA Inc., the Texas-based national health care alliance. A unifying focal point for the RAN will be the clinical blueprint VHA has developed to help its members improve performance in heart care and surgical care. The participating member hospitals include: (list)

--  Beauregard Memorial Hospital, Deridder, La.
--  Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, La.
--  St. Elizabeth Hospital, Gonzales, La.
--  Jennings American Legion Hospital, Jennings, La.
--  Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Lake Charles, La.
--  Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, La.
--  Slidell Memorial Hospital, Slidell, La.
--  St. Tammany Parish Hospital, Covington, La.
--  West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, Sulfur, La.
--  Willis-Knighton Medical Center, Shreveport, La.
--  Woman's Hospital, Baton Rouge, La.
--  Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg, Miss.
--  Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, Meridian, Miss.
--  Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Gulfport, Miss.
--  Oktibbeha County Hospital, Starkville, Miss.
--  Singing River Health System, Pascagoula, Miss.
--  Southwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, McComb, Miss.
--  St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital, Jackson, Miss.
--  Maury Regional Hospital, Columbia, Tenn.
--  West Tennessee Healthcare, Inc., Jackson, Tenn.
--  Williamson Medical Center, Franklin, Tenn.

The hospitals will commit to following the steps outlined in the VHA Clinical Blueprints:

--  Appropriate discharge instructions for heart attack patients
--  Discontinue giving preventative antibiotics within 24 hours after
    surgery to avoid side effects and other problems associated with antibiotic
    use. For certain surgeries, however, antibiotics may be needed for a longer

"By working together with other VHA hospitals, meeting face-to-face and virtually, we can share information about how we each perform with other members in the network, enabling us to achieve rapid clinical improvements and provide better care for our patients," said Amy Matthis, quality outcomes improvement director at West Tennessee Healthcare Inc. "VHA's Rapid Adoption Network takes the delivery of quality care to the next level and the clinical blueprints VHA has developed serve as the foundation for our hospital to improve or maintain quality going forward."

"VHA's clinical improvement platform focuses on helping members become leading performers," said Trent Haywood, M.D., J.D., chief medical officer at VHA. "Our programs and services will help guide members towards success and improve clinical care across the country."

"Hospitals across the region are under significant pressure from both federal and state insurance programs and private insurers to improve quality, and participation in this effort will help these hospitals meet that mandate," said Jayne Willingham, vice president of clinical improvement services in VHA's regional office in Baton Rouge, La.

One of VHA's core objectives is helping its member hospitals improve their clinical performance. A Rapid Adoption Network is one component of VHA's overall clinical improvement platform, which includes:

--  Leading Practices Portal -- a Web-based tool specifically designed to
    provide hospitals with a faster and more efficient path to adopting leading
    practices.  Hospital members can view Leading Practice Blueprints™ and
    can also compare the gaps in their processes against the leading practice.
--  Leading Practice Blueprints™ -- Sophisticated, yet simple to
    follow, process maps based on ethnographic research at top performing VHA
    members. These blueprints were developed by carefully studying the
    clinical, engineering and design factors that are important to each leading
    practice hospital and integrating these elements into a powerful visual
--  Clinical Educational Series -- Multimedia formatted educational
    programs provide year-round access to leading performers and leading

About VHA -- VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national alliance that provides industry-leading supply chain management services and supports the formation of regional and national networks to help members improve their clinical and economic performance. With 17 offices across the U.S., VHA has a track record of proven results in serving more than 1,400 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 23,000 non-acute care organizations nationwide. For more information, go to

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