SMH-National-Award1 Speare Wins National Quality Award
Posted on July 17th, 2013 by Speare Memorial Hospital

Speare Wins National Quality Award

SMH-National-Award-300x225 Speare Wins National Quality Award
Speare Memorial Hospital’s President and CEO Michelle McEwen accepts the National Rural Health Resource Center Recognition for Quality Award from Alisa Druzba, director of the NH State Office of Rural Health, and Greg Vasse, from the Foundation for Healthy Communities, who nominated Speare for the Award. All present to accept the award on behalf of Speare employees are (l-r): Kathy Wieliczko, director of Patient Care Management; Clint Hutchins, chair of the Board of Directors; Alison Ritz, Board Director; and Melissa Howard, director of Quality & Patient Safety.

PLYMOUTH, N.H.—Speare Memorial Hospital has received the National Rural Health Resource Center Recognition for Quality award for excellence and innovation in healthcare, and for demonstrating our commitment to offering the highest quality care to our patients and the communities we serve.

Speare was nominated by Greg Vasse from the Foundation for Healthy Communities and Alisa Druzba, New Hampshire State Office of Rural Health Director, based on our demonstration of excellence in quality initiatives; participating in and publicly reporting hospital quality outcomes; and innovation in improvements through patient engagement and care transitions.  Speare is one of only eight Critical Access Hospitals nationwide receiving this award, and the only hospital in New Hampshire.

“This year’s recipients embody both outstanding quality and meaningful innovation,” says Terry Hill, executive director of the National Rural Health Resource Center.  “They demonstrate that rural hospitals can lead the way in the rapidly changing healthcare industry.”

Speare’s President and CEO Michelle McEwen, FACHE, says, “We greatly appreciate the state recognizing and nominating us for this award.  It honors the work our employees do every day to provide excellent healthcare to our community, and their commitment to high quality, personalized patient care through continuous process improvement.”

The New Hampshire State Office of Rural Health Director Alisa Druzba who nominated Speare says, “The high functioning of the Hospital’s quality program is a reflection of the spread of lean and six sigma methods throughout the management structure.  A journey initiated with the Medicare Rural Hospital Flex Grant sponsored lean and six sigma training of five staff during the first half of 2012 has continued with the Hospital sponsored training of 22 clinical and process leaders.”

Being a full participant in the New Hampshire Hospital Associations Partnership for Patients to eliminate preventable harm was another reason Speare was nominated for recognition. Notes Greg Vasse from the Foundation for Healthy Communities, “Speare is reporting on seven of the 10 areas of preventable patient harm identified and has  demonstrated sustained performance excellence.  A focus on reducing all hospital readmissions within 30 days by 20 percent also reveals strength, resolve and the depth of Speare’s commitment to quality and ongoing process improvement.”  The establishment of patient and family advisors, and spearheading a regional Transitions Care Team were also cited as key quality innovations leading to Speare’s nomination.

Speare Memorial Hospital —a 24-hour, acute care, non-profit community hospital and health care provider serving Plymouth and the communities of central New Hampshire—has also been named a Hospital of Choice by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers and is nationally ranked as a HealthStrongTM: Top 100 Critical Access Hospital. Visit online at and join us on Facebook.

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