UPHS-Bell: A benchmark for medical care facilities

At left: UP Health System-Bell’s surgical staff performing their daily morning brief. Below: UP Health System-Bell’s Wendy Hanycz, a technologist, prepares x-ray equipment for a procedure.

ISHPEMING — UP Health System-Bell has a tucked-away-in-the-forest setting, but don’t let its quiet setting fool you: Bell delivers a comprehensive array of services of top-notch quality from an amazing group of physicians, nurses, specialists and staff.

It’s been about 10 years since the new Bell facility started operation, with the original Bell building now just a memory. The family spirit of Bell has become a benchmark for other medical facilities to try to meet.

“We have a robust Family Practice Clinic,” said Michelle Palomaki, Bell’s Director of Physician Practices. “On the roster for Family Medicine we have 7 Physicians, 5 Advanced Practice Providers along with an additional 2 Advanced Practice Providers in our UPHS-Bell Express Clinic.

“We see people from birth to the end of life,” Palomaki said. “We are a full-fledged hospital. We offer everything on site. You can see your doctor, then go to the lab and then to radiology. Your testing can be done the same day.”

Herself a “Bell Baby” — meaning she was born at the facility, Lynn Mattila, Director of Surgical Services, said she’s been with the hospital for 21 years and one important reason is the environment.

“We are like a family. We care about what happens and we are about taking the best possible care of each patient.”

Robert Forchini, Radiology Director, another Bell Baby who has worked at the hospital for 31 years, said, “To all of us, the patient is a person, not a number. Everybody is taken care of the same way. We treat our patients how we’d want to be treated.

“That’s our culture here. People feel that way. It’s not just what we say, it’s what we do,” he said.

UPHS-Bell has bragging rights about being a top-rated hospital in many areas. For instance …

“We’re really low in infection rates,” Mattila said. “We are always continually working on that, too. We look at what can we do better.”

Also impressive: UPHS-Bell also has fantastic ratings in patient satisfaction.

“HCAHPS — the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems — is a patient satisfaction survey required by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” said Lori Carlson, UPHS-Bell Quality Director. “HCAHPS measures patients’ perspectives on hospital care and allows objective and meaningful comparisons between hospitals.”

About 4,000 hospitals participate in HCAHPS, Carlson said, and the survey includes patients over age 18.

“There are 11 hospital quality/patient experience topics including Communication with Nurses, Communication with Doctors, Responsiveness of Hospital Staff, Cleanliness and Quietness of the Hospital Environment, Communication about Medicines, Discharge Information and Overall Rating of the Hospital,” Carlson said. “UPHS-Bell has consistently scored in the 96th Percentile and above, scoring a 9 or 10 on a scale of 0-10 in the Overall Rating of the Hospital.

“UPHS-Bell has a 5 Star HCAHPS rating. That’s the highest you can get in patient satisfaction.”

“The entire hospital family takes pride in that rating,

“It’s a celebration for us all,” Carlson said. “That’s what drives us to do well.”

Another effort the UPHS-Bell team made was achieving the goal of reducing inpatient falls.

“Our goal was a 50 percent reduction, our team achieved a 73 percent reduction. We put a lot of work into that,” Carlson said. “Our hospital is a ‘No Pass Zone.’ Everyone from maintenance to dietary to physicians, everyone; if they see a patient call light on, they go into that patient’s room to answer it. Any employee, every time.”

UPHS-Bell also was featured in a CMS monthly newsletter for its pharmacists speaking to patients at the bedside about medications.

“They will talk to patients about dosages, side effects and answer questions the patient might have,” Carlson said. “Our pharmacists are very involved, committed to patient care.”

Palomaki said: “We take pride in taking care of our patients.”

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