Schneck Medical Center in Seymour continues proving you don’t have to be the biggest to be among the best.

The hospital recently received another national award for leadership and innovation in quality improvement and safety, this one coming from the American Hospital Association and McKesson Corp.

Warren Forgey, CEO and president of Schneck, accepted the Quest for Quality Prize’s Citation of Merit on July 23 during the AHA’s Leadership Summit and Awards and Recognition program in San Francisco, California.

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The award was presented to Schneck for its passion for safety and quality improvement and excellence in staff and physician engagement, according to a news release.

The hospital also was chosen for being a leader in the strategic use of data and information to drive change and for its innovative approach in collaborating with local nursing homes and senior living communities to provide smooth health care transitions.

Schneck was one of four U.S. hospitals to be honored. Others were Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado; Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Forgey said there was an application process to be considered for the award, and the AHA had suggested Schneck apply.

“They were aware of some of the programs we had started here,” Forgey said.

Schneck also was the recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2011. That award is the nation’s highest honor for organizational innovation and performance excellence.

The most recent honor is important because it shows the hospital’s continued commitment to quality and safety, Forgey said.

To determine the winners, the AHA evaluated each applicant on six standards developed by the Institute of Medicine: Safety, patient-centeredness, effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness and equity.

“Every hospital can take a page from the book these hospitals are writing each and every day on how to provide quality care,” said Rich Umbdenstock, AHA’s president and CEO. “Through impressive engagement of patients, families, their boards and their whole staff, these hospitals are excelling in safe, patient-centered, effective, efficient, timely and equitable care.”

Forgey said the hospital has taken a number of steps in different areas to improve its services to patients.

One initiative has been partnering with local nursing homes to reduce readmission rates.

“We are doing a better job of coordinating between the nursing homes and the hospital to move those patients at the appropriate times, instead of just moving them back and forth all the time,” Forgey said.

The hospital also received points for implementing a split-flow admission process in its emergency department.

“It helps get those acute patients versus less urgent cases into the most appropriate setting efficiently,” Forgey said. “We have been able to reduce the wait time from 52 minutes to 23 minutes, even when our volume of patients has increased by 15 percent.”

Schneck also has developed a collaborative relationship with Columbus Regional Health by creating a clinically-integrated network of physicians and other health care providers with its INSPIRE Health Partners group.

“This allows us to bring a more coordinated effort to deliver care to patients in Jackson, Bartholomew and the other counties we serve,” Forgey said.

“I am truly inspired by the achievements of today’s award winners,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO of McKesson Corp. “These hospitals are examples of the future of health care, and they prove we can continually improve patient care through innovation, collaboration and a commitment to excellence.”

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January Rutherford is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. She can be reached at jrutherford@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.