Waldo County General Hospital has won another national award. VHA, Inc., a national health care network, honored 28 hospitals for meeting or exceeding national performance standards for clinical care and efforts to improve the patient experience.

“When our hospital receives a quality award such as this, it is because we have a team of employees who are all committed to the same cause, taking the best care of our patients and our community,” said WCGH’s Quality Services Manager Rob Fowler, RN, BSN, who accepted the award on behalf of the hospital.

On Monday, May 16, at VHA’s annual Leadership Conference in San Diego, WCGH was one of only 10 Critical Access Hospitals nationwide to receive the VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence. The others were located in Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin (2), Colorado, Indiana and Maine (3).

The award is given annually to recognize organizations that achieve top performance on the clinical core measurers established and tracked by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and in the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Services survey that measures patient satisfaction at hospitals across the country.

“The VHA Leadership Award for Clinical Excellence recognizes hospitals that provide consistently high levels of clinical care for their patients and that emphasize the important of improving the patient experience,” said Trent Haywood, MD, JD, chief medical officer at VHA. “These award-winning hospitals have clearly demonstrated an organizational commitment to look at the organizational practices, organizational structures and relationships that support performance improvement.”

Besides WCGH, the other Maine hospitals in the critical access category were Millinocket Regional Hospital, Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan and Houlton Regional Hospital.

The only other New England hospital is be honored in either of the two larger categories was The Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

VHA, based in Irving, Texas, serves more than 1,350 not-for-profit hospitals and more than 30,000 non-acute healthcare providers nationwide. It is a national network of health care organizations that work together to drive maximum savings in the supply chain arena, set new levels of clinical performance and identify and implement best practices to improve operational efficiency and clinical outcomes.

In December of 2009, WCGH was recognized as one of the top three rural hospitals nationally by The Leapfrog Group, which represents many of the nation’s largest corporations and public agencies that buy health benefits.

At the time, the head of The Leapfrog Group said, “This year’s class of Top Hospitals not only hits the mark in areas such as medication error prevention and preventing ICU [Intensive Care Unit] deaths, but they also use their resources wisely, providing excellent and efficient outcomes for patients. Regardless of what happens to healthcare reform, these hospitals are the future.”