By Bill Donovan, 11/10/2018

Correspondent for the Independent

GALLUP — For the fifth year in a row, the Rehoboth McKinley Christian Hospital has been recognized for its emphasis on patient safety.

The Patient Safety Excellence Award is given out by Healthgrades, the only organization in the country that compiles this kind of data from some 4,500 acute care hospitals and 3 million physicians.

According to Healthgrade, RMCH is the only hospital in the state that has been given this award five years in a row. By reaching this achievement, Healthgrades has also placed RMCH in the top 10 list in the country as far as patient safety is concerned.

Each year Healthgrades collects data on hospitals and doctors on such thing as how well nurses and doctor communicate with patients, how well they are able to contain the patient’s pain, whether the patient rooms are kept clean and even heather the hospital is quiet at night so patients can sleep.

David Conejo, CEO of the hospital, said the hospital is graded on simple things like patient falls.

Staff at the hospital are trained, he said, on things like making sure the rails are kept up when patients are being transported around the hospital so they don’t fall off gurneys. Staff are even trained to make sure that patients have slippers on when they move around their room.

“These are little things but not paying attention to the little things is what makes hospitals fail,” Conejo said.

To make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to patient safety, staff at the hospital go through a lot of training throughout the year on things like the proper way to transfer a patient from an ambulance stretcher to a hospital stretcher.

Managers are frequently sent outside the hospital for special safety training and when they come back, they hold safety sessions with hospital staff to relay what they learned.

Hospitals no different from other businesses, Conejo said. That’s why you see companies put up signs at work places celebrating the number of days the company has not had an accident.

Getting this award five years in a row is a major achievement but much of the credit has to go to the staff.

It’s the staff members, said Conejo, who bring up safety concerns and make recommendations on the possible purchase of new equipment or the need to hire more staff to address these safety concerns.

“We couldn’t do this without the commitment from our staff,” Conejo said.

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