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Planetree Names MCMC One of its Elite Hospitals

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Published on 10/31/2007
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     Mid-Columbia Medical Center has added another achievement to its list of "firsts" with the recent announcement that it was one of the first organizations to be formally recognized by Planetree, Inc., as a "Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital."
     MCMC was one of only five hospitals nationwide to receive the prestigious designation, which was introduced by Planetree, Inc., this year. It is the only Oregon hospital to have met the stringent criteria developed by Planetree to distinguish those hospitals nationwide doing the most advanced work in patient-centered care.
     "As part of a national organization whose many members have dedicated themselves to promoting the important tenets of patient-centered care, it is a true honor to be singled out for this special recognition," said MCMC CEO and President Duane Francis. "We see it as the culmination of a 15-year commitment to the Planetree concepts, though it is by no means a sign that our work is done. In fact, Planetree isn't something we do that has an end. It's something we live."
     Planetree designation recognizes an institution's achievement and innovation in fostering a culture that considers patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well being its key priorities.
     Designed to provide a level of consistency in what it means to be a patient-centered hospital, the designation criteria are based largely on direct patient feedback. Over the last several years Planetree staff conducted hundreds of focus group sessions during which patients across the country shared what is most important to them during hospitalization.
     To become a Designated Planetree Patient-Centered Hospital, MCMC had to demonstrate that it has successfully implemented programs that meet the spirit and intent of the designation criteria. As part of the designation process — which included a site visit by representatives from Planetree — MCMC was asked to demonstrate that specific patient-centered policies are in place, including non-restrictive visiting hours and an open medical chart policy; that staff members at all levels are involved in the implementation of the Planetree model; and that the hospital's physical environment is a healing one engaging all of the human senses. Designation status further requires the institution to meet or exceed national performance benchmarks for quality and patient satisfaction.
     When it implemented Planetree in 1992, MCMC was one of the Planetree organization's original five members. While the four other healthcare providers had established Planetree pilot programs within their organizations, MCMC was the first to treat the concept as more than an experiment, implementing it hospital wide.
     "It is most fitting that Mid-Columbia Medical Center is among the first hospitals nationwide to receive this recognition, as it has long been considered a pioneer in providing patient-centered care," said Planetree President Susan Frampton, Ph.D. "Since MCMC became the first hospital in the world to implement the Planetree model facility-wide its dedication to innovation and to advancing the model has persisted. MCMC has been recognized by Planetree with a number of awards for program excellence, and this designation further acknowledges its enduring commitment to the comprehensive, broad-based practice of patient-centered care."
     Over the years, Planetree has evolved considerably, both at MCMC and as an organization. In the 30 years since it took its position at the forefront of the movement to transform health care from the perspective of the patient. Planetree has grown into a network of more than 125 acute care hospitals, continuing care facilities, outpatient clinics and consumer health libraries. The Planetree model is implemented in a variety of settings, ranging from 25-bed critical access hospitals to large urban medical centers with more than 2,000 beds.
     The Planetree concept of patient-centered care revolves around 10 essential components - human interaction; access to information; family involvement; nutrition; a healing environment; arts and entertainment; massage and caring touch; spirituality and diversity; integrative therapies; and healthy communities. Guided by this model, MCMC has over the past 15 years implemented a number of initiatives and practices designed to enhance the patient experience. A small sampling includes the Planetree Health Resource Center, Center for Mind and Body Medicine, Celilo, music thanatology program and community tithing fund.
     With MCMC's organization-wide commitment to the Planetree model of care, none of those programs could be successful, Frampton said.
     "Planetree designation is a real testament to the staff, physicians, board members and volunteers at MCMC, all of whom have played an important part in integrating Planetree's philosophy of patient-centered care fully into the organization's day-to-day operations," she said.

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