September 20, 2010 12:52 ET

Bassett Medical Center Scores Double Digit Clinical Performance Improvement in Two Core Measures Using VHA's Leading Practices Portal™

IRVING, TX--(Marketwire - September 20, 2010) -  Using the clinical improvement methodology outlined in the Leading Practices Portal from VHA Inc., the national health care network, Bassett Medical Center improved its performance on two core measures, pneumococcal vaccination screening and heart failure discharge instructions. During an 18-month period from the first quarter of 2008 through the third quarter of 2009, Bassett's pneumococcal vaccination screening for patients 65 and older improved to 100% from 72%, an increase of 28%, while its heart failure discharge instructions score improved to 89% from 59%, an increase of 30%.

Bassett Medical center, a 163-bed academic medical center in upstate Cooperstown, N.Y., is a member of the Bassett Healthcare Network.

As the nation's health care system shifts from a fee-for-service based reimbursement system to a pay-for-performance model, limiting unwarranted or avoidable recurring hospitalizations and preserving quality patient care by using proven clinical processes can positively affect a hospital's CMS reimbursement. CMS is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the U.S. federal agency that administers Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Applying the knowledge from VHA's Leading Practices Portal, Bassett created interdisciplinary work groups of clinicians who worked collaboratively to implement critical practice changes that led to the organization's success. For example, the health system had traditionally administered the pneumonia vaccine to patients upon discharge. Supported by evidence from VHA's Leading Practice Blueprint™ packet, internal consensus suggested administering the vaccination upon a patient's admission.

VHA's efforts to help members improve clinical performance align with its larger efforts to help them prepare for Medicare's value-based purchasing program, which officially begins in October 2012, but baseline performance is being measured now. The second component of VHA's VPB work involves helping members with their patient experience scores.

"Transferring knowledge from the blueprints involved applying social science techniques that enabled us to see both sides of clinical improvement," said Kathleen Reilly, director of Quality Management at Bassett Medical Center. "Looking beyond the empirical data to understand the context of our own health system allowed us to implement the improvement measures successfully within our own environment."

For more information on how VHA is helping hospitals improve clinical performance, go to

About VHA -- VHA Inc., based in Irving, Texas, is a national network of not-for-profit health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes. In 2009, VHA delivered record savings and value of $1.47 billion to members. Formed in 1977, through its 16 regional offices, VHA serves 1,400 hospitals and more than 30,000 non-acute care providers nationwide. VHA was ranked by Modern Healthcare as the 7th best place to work in health care in 2009.

About Bassett Medical Center: Bassett Healthcare Networks is an integrated health care system that provides care and services to people living in an eight county region covering 5,600 square miles in update New York. Bassett Medical Center, the foundation for the Bassett Healthcare Network, is a 180-bed, acute care inpatient facility that maintains a strong academic program through its affiliation with Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. The Bassett Clinic provides outpatient primary and specialty care. Bassett offers 24-hour emergency and trauma care, comprehensive cancer care and heart care, dialysis and most medical and surgical specialties in Cooperstown.

Contact Information