SVMC Wins Third National Award for Patient Satisfaction

For Immediate Release
18 Dec. 2008
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

BENNINGTON – The Emergency Department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) has taken top honors for patient satisfaction for a third year in a row. The department recently won its third Summit award for consistently high patient satisfaction. Press Ganey Associates, an independent company, made the awards.

Kathy McGuire (center), the unit coordinator for the SVMC Emergency Department, receives SVMC's third summit award for outstanding patient satisfaction from (left) Melvin Hall, Press Ganey chief executive officer, and company founders (middle) Irwin Press and (right) Rodney Ganey.

"Our Emergency Department continues to excel at patient satisfaction," said Harvey Yorke, SVMC's chief executive officer. "The staff understand how stressful an emergency is and how to communicate and take care of our patients. And, they do this in a department that needs to be expanded because it is extremely crowded. My hat is off to them."

To achieve the Summit Award, the Emergency Department maintained patient satisfaction scores in the top 5 percent over three consecutive years when compared with other facilities nationwide. Press Ganey, which administers the surveys and scores, is a national company that measures customer satisfaction at thousands of healthcare facilities nationwide. SVMC's emergency department was compared with other hospitals of all sizes, from small rural hospitals to large teaching hospitals. Out of 1361 emergency departments, only 13 won. SVMC was the only emergency department with fewer than 30,000 visits per year to win a summit award this year. Only seven hospitals have won the award three years running.

“Winning the award once recognizes consistently high performance,” said Richard Guerrero, MD, chairman of the Board of Trustees for Southwestern Vermont Health Care, the hospital's parent organization. “To win it three years straight is an unbelievable achievement."

SVMC was the first hospital in Vermont, and the first in Northern New England, to win the award. It also previously won Summit awards for inpatient care. The health system has used Press Ganey to measure patient satisfaction since the 1990s. Patient feedback helps the hospital monitor and improve patient satisfaction.

Higher patient satisfaction is a hallmark of Magnet Hospitals for Nursing Excellence. Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is the first an only Vermont hospital to achieve magnet status, putting it in the top five percent of heath care organizations nationwide. The American Nurses Credentialing Center names Magnet hospitals following a rigorous review of the organization. SVMC was designated a Magnet in 2002 and redesignated in 2006.

"The Summit awards show what SVMC's trustees already knew," Guerrero explained. "Our local hospital provides not just excellent care. It’s superior."


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