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TVHC receives national recognition for quality excellence

Teton Valley Health Care has been recognized by The Chartis Center for Rural Health/iVantage Health Analytics and the National Organization of State Office of Rural Health (NOSORH) for overall excellence in quality, reflecting top quartile performance among all rural hospitals in the nation.

“Of course, this level of recognition is very significant for TVHC. More importantly, such stellar results should further strengthen community confidence in the excellent care you receive at TVHC. We’re one of two Idaho rural hospitals to achieve this status, and I can assure you that every single member of the TVHC team has worked very hard to bring home the NOSORH Award,” says Keith Gnagey, CEO.

NOSORH awardThe rankings are determined each year using iVantage Health Analytics’ Hospital Strength INDEX®, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. The Hospital Strength INDEX captures performance metrics for all rural and Critical Access Hospitals. Leveraging data from public data sources, INDEX aggregates data from more than 50 individual metrics into three major categories and eight pillars to arrive at a single, measurable score.

TVHC Quality Manager Susan Kay, R.N., notes that hospital leadership has chosen to use the 90th percentile of U.S. hospital quality metrics as an operational goal. Many hospitals publicize comparisons based on the 70th or 80th percentile.

“We’ve set a high standard for quality care. We want people to know that our community hospital believes that what we do today should be better than yesterday, and what we do tomorrow should be better than today. TVHC is truly redefining common perceptions about small, rural hospitals,” says Kay.

Michael Topchik, National Leader of the Chartis Center for Rural Health adds, “These leaders serve as a benchmark for other rural facilities as they strive to achieve similar results and provide a blueprint for how to successfully run a hospital and serve their communities amidst today’s uncertainty and mounting pressures.”

More information about the Hospital Strength INDEX can be found at www.ivantageindex.com.

About NOSORH
The National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health (NOSORH) was established in 1995 to assist State Offices of Rural Health in their efforts to improve access to, and the quality of, health care for America’s 61 million rural citizens. NOSORH enhances the capacity of SORHs to do this by supporting the development of state and community rural health leaders; creating and facilitating state, regional and national partnerships that foster information sharing and spur rural health-related programs/activities; and enhancing access to quality healthcare services in rural communities.

About The Chartis Group
The Chartis Group (Chartis) is a comprehensive advisory and analytics services dedicated to the healthcare industry. Chartis provides strategic planning, value-based care, advanced performance, informatics and technology consulting services as well as leading-edge decision support tools to the country’s leading healthcare providers. The Chartis Center for Rural Health (CCRH) was formed in 2016 to offer tailored services, performance management solutions, research and education to rural hospitals and facilities. Learn more at Chartisrural.com.

About iVantage Health Analytics, a subsidiary of The Chartis Group
A subsidiary of The Chartis Group, iVantage Health Analytics (iVantage) is a leading provider of healthcare analytic and performance management analytic tools. Health system and hospital leadership teams across the country rely on the company’s software and services to deliver customized insights on clinical and financial performance, strategic planning, market assessment and payment optimization. iVantage’s analytics are the basis of continuing thought leadership and insight in the areas of healthcare policy and research.

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Doc Talk: Got sunscreen?

By Kristen Coburn, C-FNP

Kristen Coburn head shot

Kristen Coburn, C-FNP

It’s shaping up to be another hot week here in the valley. Forecasters are predicting temperatures in the 80s and 90s and plenty of sunshine … what more could we ask for on a holiday weekend?

If you plan on spending time outdoors enjoying the sun, catching some of the Independence Day activities, or even doing yard work, make sure you drink plenty of water and take care of your skin.

Sunscreen is one of the best protections against damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation: UVA and UVB. Ultraviolet radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. It has wavelengths shorter than visible light, making it invisible to the naked eye. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV that causes skin damage, skin aging and may cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburn, skin damage and may cause skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Facts

 

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to prevent UVB and UVA from damaging the skin. Here’s how it works: If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer or about 5 hours. Most sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher do an excellent job of protecting against UVB (with many brands also touting UVA protection) however, it may be overly optimistic to rely on 5 hours of continuous protection after one application.

Another way to look at it is in terms of percentages: SPF 15 filters out approximately 93 percent of all incoming UVA/UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent and SPF 50 screens out 98 percent. These numbers may seem like negligible differences, but if you are light-sensitive or have a history of skin cancer, those extra percentages will make a difference. And as you can see, no sunscreen can block all UV rays.

Be aware that there are problems with the SPF model: First, no sunscreen, regardless of strength, should be expected to stay effective longer than two hours without reapplication. Second, “reddening” of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. UVA radiation is more detectable over time, showing up as pre-aging of the skin via wrinkles, discolorations, and coarse texture. Plenty of damage can be done without the red flag of sunburn being raised.

Who should use sunscreen?

Anyone over the age of six months should use a sunscreen daily. Even those who work inside are exposed to ultraviolet radiation for brief periods throughout the day, especially if they work near windows, which generally filter out UVB but not UVA rays.

Children under the age of six months should not be exposed to the sun, since their skin is highly sensitive to the chemical ingredients in sunscreen as well as to the sun’s rays. Shade and protective clothing are the best ways to protect infants from the sun.

What type of sunscreen should I use?

Which sunscreen you choose depends on how much sun exposure you’re anticipating. In all cases we recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen offering protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Many after-shave lotions and moisturizers have a sunscreen (usually SPF 15 or greater) already in them, and this is sufficient for everyday activities with a few minutes here and there in the sun. However, if you work outside or spend a lot of time outdoors, you need stronger, water-resistant, beachwear-type sunscreen that holds together on your skin. The “water resistant” and “very water resistant” types are also good for hot days or while playing sports, because they’re less likely to drip into your eyes when you sweat. However, these sunscreens may not be as good for everyday wear. They are stickier, don’t go as well with makeup, and need to be reapplied every two hours.

When shopping for sunscreen, consumers should look for The Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation, which is awarded to sun protective products that meet stringent criteria for safety and effectiveness.

Despite recent claims about sunscreen safety, consumers should rest assured that sunscreen products and specifically the ingredients oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, are safe and effective when used as directed. Of course, some people may be allergic or sensitive to the ingredients. In those instances, a healthcare professional can help recommend alternatives.

Sunscreens should be considered a vital part of a comprehensive sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade, covering up with clothing including a wide brimmed hat, UV-blocking sunglasses, avoiding tanning and UV tanning booths.

Kristen Coburn, FNP is a family practice physician who sees patients at Driggs and Victor Clinics. She also provides aesthetic treatments including free consultations, Botox and physician-recommended skincare products at Teton Valley Hospital’s Aesthetics Clinic

This article orignally appeared in the Teton Valley News.

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