|North Dakota Small Hospital Improvement Program publishes fiscal year report|
In fiscal year 2007–2008, the North Dakota Small Hospital Improvement Program provided almost $268,000 in grants to 29 small rural hospitals, primarily to support their efforts to ensure patient safety and maintain quality of care for rural residents of North Dakota. The grants also helped rural hospitals ensure privacy of patient information.
The Center for Rural Health administers the Small Hospital Improvement Program (SHIP) through a grant from the federal Office of Rural Health Policy. The program helps small rural hospitals do any or all of the following: (1) reduce medical errors and support quality improvement efforts; (2) strengthen privacy of patient information by training staff and by using more secure information systems that are required by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996; and (3) pay for costs to carry out Medicare’s prospective payment system, which uses financial incentives to encourage hospitals to develop more cost-efficient medical care management.
“Since the program began in 2002, each of North Dakota’s eligible hospitals has received an average of $9,000 each year,” said Marlene Miller, program director at the Center for Rural Health. “To date, the total impact to North Dakota is $2.3 million.”
Seventy-seven percent of the SHIP funds were spent on quality improvements. Hospitals used the funds to increase physicians, nurses, and other health professionals’ effectiveness through shared electronic medical records, to train nurses in advanced cardiac life support, to provide automated external defibrillator response kits to hospitals and emergency rooms, and to purchase variable density mattresses to ensure patient comfort by preventing pressure ulcers.
Twenty-three percent of the funds were used to strengthen patient medical information privacy through ongoing training of staff on privacy requirements, to increase the security of electronically stored patient information, to upgrade to more secure and powerful computers, and to purchase more robust identity-protection software.
The full North Dakota Small Hospital Improvement Program Fiscal Year 2007–2008 report is now available from the Center for Rural Health at http://ruralhealth.und.edu/projects/ship/pdf/ship_report2007-2008.pdf
For more information contact: Marlene Miller, program director, 777-4499, email@example.com