Alegent Health Mercy Hospital Named Top Quality Performer Twice in Two Weeks
Release Date: 06/27/2008

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Studies cites quality commitment to patients at every level

OMAHA, Neb. – Hard on the heels of being recognized as a national leader in quality of patient care and topping the list of America’s hospital networks in a study conducted by The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), Alegent Health today announced that its hospitals have also been named top performers in a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Premier healthcare alliance pay-for-performance (P4P) project. This project rewards hospitals for delivering higher quality care in five key clinical areas.

“These two outstanding achievements reflect a commitment to the highest standard of patient care in the industry from everyone at Alegent Health,” observed Wayne Sensor, CEO of Alegent Health. “We take quality seriously that’s why we openly report our scores on a regular basis. These results tell me, it is clear we are living our commitment.”

That is certainly the case in Council Bluffs where Alegent Health Mercy Hospital was the only Iowa hospital to receive top quality performer status. That comes as no surprise to Michael Regan, who chose to go to Mercy Hospital for a total left knee replacement. Mercy Hospital scored in the top 10 percent of hospitals in that clinical area. Michael says his surgery took place in the morning and by early afternoon he was up walking with little help from his medical team. At age 65, Michael knows the importance of quality care and he says he got it at Mercy. “The nurses were extraordinary, very helpful and answered every question I had. After I woke up from surgery, I had only a little bit of pain and ended up going home earlier than the doctor had predicted. I had such a good experience that I’m planning to have my right knee replaced in September,” he said.

"Michael was very determined to get back to his daily routine as soon possible," recalls Christine Constant, RN and one of Michael's nurse. "Because orthopaedic surgery is such a life changing event for many of these patients, we try to make it as fun as possible. We want patients to feel like they're part of a big family and use teamwork to help motivate and encourage these patients to get up and walking. That's why I love working on the orthopaedic floor." Alegent Health Mercy Hospital received Magnet nursing status in 2005. It is the profession’s gold standard for nursing excellence.

The CMS Premier healthcare alliance pay-for-performance project rewards individual hospitals for delivering higher quality care in five clinical areas, including acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), pneumonia and hip and knee replacement. Based on third-year results from the Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration (HQID) project, Mercy Hospital will receive an award of $92,639 from CMS for scores nearing perfection.

"Delivering high quality care continues to be our compass here at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. Our physicians and staff have invested a great deal of time and energy on infusing quality initiatives throughout our hospital,” said Marie Knedler, vice president and chief operating officer at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital. “This is especially important and comforting for patients and their families who place their trust in us; and it is in step with our faith-based Mission.”

All five of Alegent Health’s metro area hospital participated in the voluntary study and all of them were top performers, scoring above 94 percent in all of the clinical areas with most scores in the 97 to 99 percent range. Due to its successes, Alegent Health, as a system, will receive a bonus payment of more $300,000 from CMS, which awarded incentive payments of more than $7 million to 112 hospitals. Overall, 206 awards were given to these top performing hospitals in the third year of the project.

“All of the Alegent Health hospitals participating in the study have been top performers for all three years,” said Mark Kestner, M.D., vice president and Chief Quality Officer for Alegent Health. “Each year we watched our scores climb and with it the award from CMS.”

“Hospitals participating in the HQID project make quality a top priority from the hospital board on down,” said Stephanie Alexander, Premier senior vice president.

In addition to the top HQID scores, Alegent Health ranked number one in the nation in the NRHI study, which analyzed the clinical quality scores from CMS and patient satisfaction scores reported in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). That study looked at 121 health care systems operating four or more hospitals. The Mayo Clinic of Minnesota was second.

Calling the results of the two studies’ results affirmation of Alegent Health’s commitment to quality patient care, Sensor noted that these types of quality outcomes can only happen when the entire team remains focused on the well-being of every patient – mind, body and spirit. “Taking care of people’s health is a privilege and we take it very seriously,” said Sensor.

About the HQID project

The HQID is the first national project of its kind, designed to determine if economic incentives to hospitals are effective at improving the quality of inpatient care. Through the project, which has been extended by CMS for an additional three years, Premier collects a set of more than 30 evidence-based clinical quality measures from over 250 hospitals across the country. The quality measures were developed by government and private organizations (for more information on the indicators, visit: HQID tracks process and outcome measures in five clinical areas – acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), pneumonia, and hip and knee replacement.

About Alegent Health

Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,300 physicians on its medical staff and roughly 9,000 employees. Alegent Health is making healthcare better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person consistent with its faith-based mission. Alegent Health continues the health ministry begun by its sponsors, Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems, more than a hundred years ago. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women’s and children’s services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation and behavioral health. Alegent Health is online at

About Premier Inc., 2006 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award recipient

Serving more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals and 50,000 other healthcare sites, the Premier healthcare alliance and its members are transforming healthcare together. Owned by not-for-profit hospitals, Premier operates one of the leading healthcare purchasing networks and the nation’s most comprehensive repository of hospital clinical and financial information. A subsidiary operates one of the nation’s largest policy-holder owned, hospital professional liability risk-retention groups. A world leader in helping healthcare providers deliver dramatic improvements in care, Premier is working with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service North West and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve hospital performance. Headquartered in San Diego, Premier has offices in Charlotte, N.C., Philadelphia and Washington. For more information, visit