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Seton Medical Center Hays

  • Location: Kyle, Texas
  • Award: Rural Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: August 2013

Seton Medical Center Hays at a glance:

Seton Medical Center Hays is one of the youngest hospitals in Seton's family. When Seton Medical Center Hays opened in October of 2009, Hays County, the third fastest-growing county in Texas, had only one community hospital. Approximately 60% of Hays residents traveled to Austin or San Antonio for medical care. Surveys consistently showed residents' desire not to travel outside of their county for medical attention. We are now able to provide convenient, state-of-the-art medical care to the people of Hays County and Kyle, Texas.

Last year, Seton Hays became the first hospital in Hays County to be certified in Primary Stroke Care.  Seton Medical Center Hays is now the fastest growing hospital in Hays County and in the Seton Healthcare Family Network. The hospital has 112 licensed beds with capacity to expand to 210 beds.

Seton Hays is part of the nonprofit Seton Healthcare Family founded in 1902 by the Daughters of Charity. Seton operates 90 clinical locations and is the largest healthcare provider in central Texas. Seton Medical Center Hays has seamlessly aligned with its parent organization's mission to "care for and improve the health of those we serve, with a special concern for the poor and the vulnerable."

The Studer Journey

Herb Dyer, former Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Seton Medical Center Hays and current Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of University Medical Center Brackenridge, and his leadership team used the opening of Seton Medical Center Hays as an opportunity to implement the Studer Model from the beginning.  Dyer chose to implement the Studer Model after seeing its success at Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital, another member of the Seton Healthcare Family. Dyer also adapted the Studer Group principles (rounding, thank you cards, etc.) as an administrator during his last five years as a New York hospital executive.

"We wanted to implement a system at Seton Medical Center Hays that would allow our staff to excel and give the community the finest care possible," said Dyer. "After seeing how the Studer Model transformed Seton Edgar B. Davis, we knew that this approach would work well for us and establish a culture of accountability and commitment to best practice." Dyer passionately added that the team was committed to making Seton Medical Center Hays the best medical center in the region.

"The experience at Edgar B. Davis and the fact that a sister facility was opening created an opportunity here at Hays to do it from the start, I think that was what really attracted Herb and his team to the Studer Method," said Neal Kelley, Seton Edgar B. Davis' former Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Seton Medical Center Hays' current Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Kelley and his team's transformation of Seton Edgar B. Davis' into a broader approach to healthcare, earned him a spot in the Studer Group's Fire Starter Hall of Fame. He will be inducted this coming fall of 2013.

Using the Studer Model

The tools utilized by Studer Group ensure that all clinical and non-clinical associates are a part of one cohesive system and are easily able to connect with the patients and their families.

Rounding – Clinical Rounding allows for physicians and nurses to make it part of their daily routine to sit with patients and their families to encourage them to voice their needs. Associate Rounding allows for us to readily connect with our hospital leadership.  "One of my favorite things about the Studer Model was the nurse leader rounding with patients," stated Nikki Rivers, former Chief Nurse Officer at Seton Medical Center Hays. "If there was an opportunity or issue, you could address it on real time."

Leader Evaluation ManagerSM – using the evaluation tool ensures that our leadership establishes goals that align with Studer's pillars: Service, People, Quality, Financial, and Growth.

Thank You Notes – allows us to connect associates in all departments. Associates acknowledge the hard work of one another, and we are able to thank them for their efforts.

Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, and Thanks (AIDET®) – "at New Hire Orientation we teach all associates how to address and positively interact with patients," stated Tara Hunter, Director of Accreditation at Seton Medical Center Hays. We make it a priority to show our patients how much we value and care for each one of them. "We don't want our patients to feel like just another person receiving healthcare," said Dyer. "Our patients know that once they step into Seton Medical Center Hays, they become family."

With Studer, leadership is able to emphasize the importance of communication between leaders and associates. Leadership is taught how to pay attention to associate needs and concerns. Physicians and staff are taught how to work side by side. When goals are effectively communicated to the whole team, leadership can align accordingly. Common goals allow leadership, clinical associates and non-clinical associates to move positively in the same direction. 

"I have learned the value of spending time with my employees and giving them uninterrupted and undivided time to talk me," said Diane Krause the current interim Chief Nursing Officer at Seton Medical Center Hays. "It helps me understand what is going well and what needs focus so that we can help them meet their goals."

After four years of using Studer, Seton Medical Center Hays has seen overall increase in Center for Medicare and Medicaid HCAPHS scores and increased associate engagement scores. We have also seen significant reductions in Serious Safety Events by 59%. Our patient experience – which is part of value based processing – and clinical process – part of core measures – have also seen significant improvement.  "Studer's structured model is the vehicle that has allowed us to succeed," stated Patrick Garcia, MD, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Seton Medical Center Hays.

Seton Medical Center Hays' in the Future

As we continue to accomplish our goals at Seton Medical Center Hays, leadership makes sure to keep progressing and setting new ones. We hope to achieve a network target of 97% overall for Center for Medicare and Medicaid Core Measure in quality and patient safety, continuing increasing our HCAPHS score, and reduce readmission rates. We are happy to continue using the Studer Model as we continue to strive for excellence.

"It is certainly my intent for us to be the best of the best in all indicators. We have a lot of work to do but it is exciting to inherit a place that already has a great reputation," added Neal Kelley.

Seton Medical Center Hays is honored to be receiving Studer Group's Healthcare Organization of the Month for August of 2013. The commitment and dedication of our leadership, physicians/nurses, and staff have helped create a safe and positive environment where everyone can shine. We look forward to continuing our journey with Studer Group as we continue to serve our community to the best of our abilities, with a "special concern for the poor and the vulnerable."

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