The facts about Stanford Health Care’s record on patient safety

Stanford Hospital. File photo.
Stanford Hospital. File photo.

GUEST OPINION

BY JULIE MORATH

As president and CEO of the Hospital Quality Institute, which provides oversight and guidance to help California hospitals provide the safest possible environment to deliver quality patient care, I have worked closely with hospitals across America and throughout California for more than 30 years.

I learned that a labor union is running ads criticizing Stanford Health Care’s record on patient safety. I can report that Stanford Health Care’s three hospitals are using best practices, technology and training to prevent and control infections at its facilities.

Julie Morath
Julie Morath

While it is unfortunate that any organization would play politics with a hospital’s reputation and focus on patient safety, the situation presents an opportunity to share the great work that goes on every day by well-trained, committed hospital professionals including physicians, nurses and housekeeping staff at Stanford Health Care.

Here are the facts: California outperforms America with lower central line-associated bloodstream infections, surgical site infections and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, better known as MRSA.

Reducing infection rates in Clostridium difficile infections and urinary catheter associated infections is showing improvement by over 10% the past year at Stanford alone.

Zero MRSA cases

It is notable that Stanford Health Care’s ValleyCare hospital in Livermore has had zero cases of MRSA over the past year, performance that is leading the nation.

To achieve these levels of patient safety and quality, particularly when the hospital serves a large and diverse population, health care leaders and frontline staff work together, sharing information on the best ways to provide care.

Stanford Health Care is an active member and uses improvement resources through CHPSO (California Hospital Patient Safety Organization) participation.
They are a member of the Vizient Hospital Improvement and Innovation Network Collaborative that is funded by the federal government’s Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), focused on reducing infections, among other topics.

Stanford Health is also a leader in the Santa Clara County Coalition for Sepsis, focusing on nursing home education and transfers around infection.

Taking challenging cases

Stanford plays a major role in the South Bay and Santa Clara County communities, accepting complex patients with infection, potential infections and those with pre-existing conditions that put them at risk for infection.

What this means is that Stanford receives and delivers care for patients that are most susceptible to infection due to their age or other circumstances. The best hospitals are those that can take and treat the most challenging conditions.

Stanford is one of those, as evidenced by consistently high rankings by independent evaluators, including U.S. News & World Report.

Here’s what every person needs to know: Stanford Health Care is active, engaged, and continuously working to ensure the safety of patients and the greater community. It is actively engaged in the issues faced throughout the nation in medical research, breakthrough technologies, creating new health care diagnostic and therapeutic applications, educating tomorrow’s physicians and other health professionals, providing high-quality care and preventing infections.

In the past two years, Stanford has revolutionized its focus on creating the safest care by increased leadership and capabilities in prevention and improvement.
Stanford Health Care’s network of hospitals and clinics are a great asset, meeting the needs of patients, many of whom have the most challenging conditions. They care for the region’s children, seniors and families, offering life-saving care to those in need, regardless of their immediate ability to pay. They are a model organization that enhances the region’s health and well-being.

Julie Morath, RN, BSN, MS, CNS, CPPS, is president and chief executive officer of the Hospital Quality Institute, an organization created to help improve patient safety and quality care.

12 Comments

  1. My husband has had multiple surgeries at Stanford as well as myself and sister. Great staff thorough about infection control and not letting 15 people in room to visit like our local hospital does

  2. I remember hearing the SEIU’s ad on the radio and being completely flabbergasted that they would stoop so low in their attempt to gain the upper hand in negotiations. This really is the equivalent of shooting one’s self in the foot.

  3. In December 2017, the SEIU-UHW filed ballot initiatives to limit what Stanford Health Care can charge in five locations: Palo Alto, Emeryville, Livermore, Pleasanton and Redwood City. Under the proposed initiatives, healthcare facilities in those communities would be limited from charging patients more than 15 percent above the actual cost of providing care. Let’s assume this measure passes. Then contract talks begin. Stanford Health Care says to SEIU-UHW, “We’d like to give your workers a wage increase, but that means we’ll have to raise the fees we charge patients. Since you worked so hard on this initiative to limit what we can charge, we’re sure your members will be OK if we decline to raise their pay.” What does the union say at that point?

  4. Sorry but more so for my husband who was released after surgery and infection. He wore a wound pump for 6 months. Required in home nursing. All this for stage 1 colon cancer. The abdominal wound effected him the rest of his life. Medicare refused payment for obvious reasons. This exists so don’t sweep it under the bridge

  5. So How would you spend $800,000 dollars? Stanford is spending $800,000 dollars to defeat healthcare intiatives. I’ve seen patient care suffer. Stanford puts patients in the hall way because there are no rooms available Are these patients given a break in cost or care. I would not want my loved one in the hall with no privacy, and then a garbage continer rolls by. Today our housekeepers began their shift with only water to clean. The managment did not, oops forgot to provide the cleaning chemicals. Stanford did not just start thislack of poor infection contraL. Its available as public records. Julie Morath well she is part of who stanford pays to provide biased information

  6. I heard this radio ad yesterday and was enraged.
    As a nurse at staford for almost 10 years, I have to say this facility delivers superb care, and that is based on my 25 years of experience in 3 different countries. It is unfortunate that this union can get away with slandering this facility with lies. Infection prevention is a priority for this organization and has been for as long as I have worked here. I am thoroughly ashamed of SEIU/UHW.

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