Overall, rural hospitals started out in the first year with aggregated scores in almost every category that were slightly lower than their urban counterparts participating in the project. But one of the most surprising findings after the first three years was that rural hospitals improved at a rate that kept pace with facilities in urban settings, Premier officials said.
For example, in the treatment of patients with heart attack or AMI, rural hospitals started out in year one with a compliance rate of 87%, but improved to 94% by the end of year three. Urban hospitals started out at 89.8% and ended year three with 95.6%
Rural hospitals still have more improvements to make overall, says Alven Weil, spokesman for Premier. During year four awards, the 190 urban hospitals received on average five awards per hospital while the 40 rural facilities received only four.
Also overall, there is still more room for improvement throughout all participating hospitals in many areas, such as pneumonia, Weil says.
For Leatherwood, Popwell and Povroznik, at least, there is the drive to continue to improve. "We now have the culture that likes being the very best," says Leatherwood. "And we know being just 'good' is not good enough."