News & Updates

How does Northwestern Medical Center compare to other community hospitals?

NMC is rated a top 100 community hospital, nationally! It was exciting to have the exceptional care provided by the NMC staff and medical staff honored with the designation of NMC as one of the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals in the United States by The National Rural Health Association’s Rural Health Policy Institute, iVantage Health Analytics, and the Chartis Center for Rural Health.  A portion of NMC’s vision statement challenges our team to achieve “national recognition for excellence and value in health care” and this latest honor is confirmation of our ability to achieve that vision. With our hospital’s history dating back to 1883, sometimes there can be a temptation for us to blend into the fabric of our community and the level of excellence available right here, close to home risks becoming one of the ‘best kept secrets.’  An award like this helps remind all of us how hard the NMC team is working and the outstanding results they are achieving.  One may not expect a small hospital tucked in northwestern Vermont to be in the top 100 – well, we are now … and not by accident.  This team has been focused on results.

It is gratifying to learn that we won a national award based on independent review of formal, broad based criteria. It is not something we applied for.  In selecting the top 100 rural & community hospitals from the thousands of hospitals nationwide, the National Rural Health Association and their partners looked at diverse aspects of what it means to be exceptional: quality of care indicators, outcomes of care, costs and charges, inpatient and outpatient market share, patient perspectives, and financial stability. This broad look validates our daily commitment to providing the best health care possible to our community, while maintaining an efficient and effective facility and organization.

At NMC, we truly embrace the national “Triple Aim” presented by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement of “improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction); improving the health of populations; and reducing the per capita cost of health care.” I am so proud that our quality indicators are so strong (such as having a rate of surgical site infection which is a fraction of the national average), our patient satisfaction is so strong (earning national awards for aspects of it on its own), and that we have been able to do this while reducing our rates over the past two years (NMC’s ‘cost per adjusted admission’ has actually gone DOWN over the past four years and we are among the four leaders in the state in that important measure of cost efficiency). This award shows that our emphasis on this triple aim is not only producing results here at the local level in our community, but is worthy of recognition at the national level. That is a wonderful tribute to the remarkable efforts of our team and all of our community partners. My heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to all involved.

As the country and Vermont continue forward with healthcare reform, this is exactly the kind of excellence which each hospital must deliver.  In the announcement of the top 100 community hospitals, Michael Topchik of the Chartis Center for Rural Health said, “It’s more important than ever that rural hospitals proactively understand and address performance in the areas of cost, quality, outcomes and patient perspective … Across the spectrum of performance indicators, there are rural providers that are writing the blueprint for success as they transition to value-based healthcare. Our analysis shows that this group of top performers exhibits a focused concern for their community needs.” That is high praise for the team of NMC and consistent with our efforts to be a leader in addressing the priorities within our community’s health needs assessment; to lead the way in promoting primary prevention and healthy lifestyles through RiseVT to bend the cost curve; and to be a leader in the Medicaid pilot on shifting the Vermont’s system away from fee-for-service payment for medical care to an approach based on population health. Being named one of the Top 100 Rural and Community Hospitals in the country is a great reinforcement that NMC is doing the right things for the right reasons for our community.

In addition to extending thanks to the entire NMC family and our community partners for their efforts that contributed to this recognition, I would like to thank you – our patients and our community members – on behalf of our team.  We deeply appreciate the trust you put in NMC to care for you and your love loved ones.  We appreciate your involvement in that care and the momentum that is building through RiseVT around embracing healthier lifestyles.  Together, we can build a healthier future in our community.  I am so proud of the NMC team and so grateful for the support of our community.

— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer