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MGH among top 20 rural hospitals in US

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TOP TWENTY: Marion General Hospital President and CEO Stephanie Hilton-Siebert announces MGH's ranking in the top 20 of rural community hospitals across the nation.
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CELEBRATING SUCCESS: Marion General Hospital employees celebrate ranking in the top 20 in the nation by passing out celebratory buttons during lunchtime.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

Marion General Hospital has been named one of the top 20 rural community hospitals in the nation, MGH announced Monday. 

"It's outstanding," said MGH President and CEO Stephanie Hilton-Siebert. "Every day we work to make sure that we're offering the best healthcare to our community and receiving this phone call was so surprising that it just really helps to reinforce the work we're doing here."

MGH kicked off National Hospital Week by announcing their placement in the top 20 with a celebration at the hospital.

The rankings are determined by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), which ranks payment system hospitals across the country based on a hospital strength index. There are around 2,200 hospitals across the U.S. that fall into the rural community hospital category.

MGH has ranked in the top 100 for the past three years. But this is the hospital's first year cracking the top 20. 

According to Hilton-Siebert, the hospital's improvement comes down to "patient-driven" quality.

"The quality has greatly improved and (quality) has been a focus in this organization and for every department," Hilton-Siebert said. "So many departments support the patient care areas. For instance housekeeping makes sure (they're) doing everything they can to help prevent infections in patients. We have everyone that is working on their initiatives around quality and we've seen great strides happen.

"It was really an honor to accept this award on behalf of everyone," she added. "Each person plays a huge role each and every day and they are the reason why we're able to be included in this award." 

Hilton-Siebert said MGH has lower healthcare costs than its peers and has increased its market share in Grant County and the surrounding area.

"It's a really great honor and it really shows (how great) what we do here is," said CFO Jeff Wakefield. "I talk to patients and families and I ask them how their care was and 98 percent of the time I hear great things. From an outside perspective (this) validates and verifies what great care we have here."

MGH was recognized at an awards ceremony during NRHA’s Rural Hospital Innovation Summit on May 9 in Atlanta, Georgia. Eight factors weighed into the ratings: inpatient market share, outpatient market share, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, cost, charge and financial stability, according to a NRHA press release.

“NRHA is committed to ensuring our members have the best information to manage their hospitals,” said Brock Slabach, NRHA membership services senior vice president, in a prepared statement. “We’re pleased to recognize the accomplishments of these rural community hospitals.”

Indiana has five hospitals which placed in the top 20 nationwide, including Logansport Memorial Hospital, Major Health Partners in Shelbyville, Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center in Jasper and Schneck Medical Center in Seymour.

"When we talk about access (to healthcare) our Marion General is the place to go," said MGH Board Chair Barbara Ihrke. "Marion, Indiana is known maybe for other things besides healthcare, but I think this will put us on the map that we have excellent healthcare and we provide for the needs of the people here in Grant County and the surrounding area."