Archive for the ‘MCDH Clinical Services’ Category

JAMA Article on Quality of Care in Critical Access Hospitals
—Posted Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 5:48 pm— « »

MCDH Front Entrance

Tomorrow a Nationally respected Medical Journal (the Journal of the American Medical Association) is issuing a report on “Quality of Care and Patient Outcomes in Critical Access Hospitals.”  The report uses a scientific approach to determining if there is a difference between critical access hospitals (CAHs, such as Mendocino Coast District Hospital) and non-Critical Access Hospitals when it comes to quality.  The report provides evidence that when looking at Nationally recognized hospital quality data, that critical access hospitals consistently come in with lower quality scores than non-critical access hospitals.   I have 2 reactions to the report.  First, I think that the report misses the boat by not recognizing that there are some fundamental differences between CAH hospitals and non-CAH hospitals.  The most major difference is that the CAHs exist in smaller rural markets with much less availability of physicians, specialist physicians and advanced clinical capabilities (such as cardiac catheterization labs).  Also, critical access hospitals are focused on keeping only those patients that can be treated safely in a smaller hospitals and transfering the more acutely ill patients to larger hospitals.  In the JAMA study, patients that were transfered to a larger hospital were excluded from some of the analysis.  So my first reaction is that quality in critical access hospitals needs to be measured differently than quality in urban hospitals.  My second reaction is that our hospital, Mendocino Coast District Hospital, compares very well to the National database that the JAMA article uses.   The data that they are using is available to anybody with a computer and internet access.  It’s available on a website called “Hospital Compare” on the Medicare site,   We have an ICU here, which is a big advantage for a critical access hospital (only 30% of them do, according to the report).  And in the areas of “processes of care” and “clinical outcomes” we compare pretty well.  In those 2 areas on the Medicare Hospital Compare website, we report and we consistently show as being comparable to larger hospitals.  The one caveat that I would point out is that, due to our low numbers, many of our scores have a footnote number 1.  Footnote number 1 says “the number of cases is too small to be sure how well a hospital is performing.”  So, in other words, even though the report says that our numbers are good, it is also saying that small numbers are unreliable.

My conclusions from reading the JAMA article are that (1) there needs to be more study on what constitutes high quality in critical access hospitals and (2) Mendocino Coast District Hospital is doing all of the right things to ensure that we are providing a high quality of care here on the Mendocino Coast.

CEO Day in Surgery
—Posted Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 7:22 pm— « »

Mark and Jack

Mark Scheffer and Dr. Jack Bellah

I love my job as CEO at Mendocino Coast District Hospital.  I have the honor and privilege of working with a dedicated team of health care professionals and support staff that are providing high quality medical care to our community.  Each month I take time to get out of my comfort zone of business meetings, telephone calls and paperwork to spend time working with our front line staff.  In fact I made that comment earlier today and one of our floor nurses, Amy, said “We’re like the Marines!”  I have to agree.  Our front line staff are like Marines.  No matter what, they get the job done.  On Wednesday of this week, I spent an entire day in our Surgery Department.  This was my first time visiting our Surgery Department as an employee (I have been back there twice as a patient!).  I had always heard from our patients of the skilled work that is being done “behind the closed double doors.”  (more…)

April MCDH Star Card of the Month
—Posted Monday, May 2nd, 2011 at 11:45 am— « »


Our patients, guests and visitors may, or may not, know that Mendocino Coast District Hospital has a system in place to recognize excellence in the care and services provided by our Hospital staff.  The system is called the “Star” Card program.  Any of us, including patients, visitors, physicians, co-workers or volunteers, may recognize excellence by picking up a Star Card in any of the convenient locations and filling out the name of the employee to be honored and why.  Each month we receive between 20-40 cards for our staff.  Every time a Star Card is received, a copy is given to the honored employee, their manager and Human Resources.  All Star Cards are posted on a bulletin board outside of the Hospital Cafeteria each month by Tanya Wyldflower.  Beginning in April, we are selecting 1 Star Card each month for the “MCDH Star Card of the Month.”  The Star Card of the Month will be based upon extraordinary excellence.  For April, we have selected Deb Hendricks, ICU Charge Nurse.  In her nomination, written by the visitor of an ICU patient, “Deb is an excellent nurse.  Very caring.  Took care of my Aunt.  Always explained in detail with her care and prognosis.  Thanks Deb.”  Thank you Deb for the wonderful care that you provide to our ICU patients every day!

MCDH Achieves National 5-Star Rating in 2 Categories
—Posted Monday, January 17th, 2011 at 12:20 pm— « »



I am extremely proud to announce that Mendocino Coast District Hospital has been awarded a 5-Star rating by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, for 2 of our Hospital services for 2010-2011.  The 2 services are Total Hip Replacement Surgery and Pneumonia Care.   Hospitals earn this prestigious designation by performing in the top 10 percentile of all hospitals Nationally for a low incidence of mortality and complications.   Hospitals do not apply for a favorable rating.  HealthGrades objectively analyzes the clinical outcomes data for all 5,000 hospitals in the United States.   Hospitals are then awarded a 5-Star, 3-Star or 1-Star rating, depending upon how they compare to other hospitals across the Country for favorable clinical outcomes.  HealthGrades has been studying hospitals for 13 years.  For the past 3 years, it has awarded Mendocino Coast District Hospital a 5-Star rating for total hip replacement surgery.  And it is particularly gratifying to note that Coast Hospital is the only 5-Star rated total hip replacement hospital in the 3 counties of Mendocino, Lake and Humboldt.  This is the first time that we have been awarded a 5-Star rating for Pneumonia Care.  This accomplishment is due entirely to the clinical staff at MCDH and their adherence to stringent infection control standards.  Beginning with our doctors, such as orthopedic surgerons Bill Rohr and Jack Bellah and including our surgical teams, nursing staff and our support staff.  For more information on HealthGrades, I encourage you to visit them on the web at

MCDH Obstetrics Service Receives Award of Excellence
—Posted Wednesday, November 24th, 2010 at 11:10 am— « »


BETA Healthcare Group President Tom Wander Presents Award of Excellence to representatives of MCDH OB Nursing and Medical Staff

On Tuesday night at the November Board of Directors Meeting we had a very special guest who was here for a special presentation.  Mr. Tom Wander, President of BETA Healthcare Group was here to present the BETA Award of Excellence to MCDH.  Mr. Wander announced that BETA Healthcare Group, which provides professional liability coverage for hospitals (of all sizes and types) has launched it’s “Quest for Zero” preventable birth injuries.   It’s goal is to promote best practices in the delivery of care to moms and babies for member hospitals.  35 hospitals were eligible to participate and 6, including Mendocino Coast District Hospital, have qualified to receive the Award of Excellence.  The Award of Excellence is given to BETA member hospitals that demonstrate 100% compliance with all the elements of the “Quest for Zero” OB Initiative. 


Welcome 2010 New Year’s Baby at MCDH
—Posted Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 12:25 pm— « »

Proud Parents, Lynn and Chester with New Baby Boy

Proud Parents, Lynn and Chester with New Baby Boy

One of the milestone events of each year is the arrival of the Mendocino Coast “New  Year’s Baby.”   We can probably all identify with the old man (2009) departing and the arrival of 2010.   This year’s New Year’s Baby came to us with an interesting story.  Proud parents, Lynn Williams and Chester Maiava (pictured) delivered their brand new baby boy on January 9.  (Yes.  In rural areas sometimes the new years baby arrives a few days late).    A prenatal sonogram had predicted a 90% chance that the new baby was going to be a girl and the parents had decided to name her Alexa.   Well, to everyone’s surprise “Alexa” is actually a boy.   So Lynn and Chester will, most likely, be choosing a new name.   How about Alex?  Congratulations again to Lynn Williams and Chester Maiava and our MCDH New Year’s Baby for 2010! The family is also taking home a gift basket, compliments of the Obstetrics Department Nursing Staff at MCDH.