Avah Stalnaker, SJMH CAO
Avah Stalnaker, SJMH CAO

Mon Health SJMH named in Top 100 Best Safety Net Hospitals

WESTON, W.Va. – Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital has been named in the top 100 Best Safety Net Hospitals for America, and the only hospital in West Virginia to gain that distinction.

SJMH Chief Administrative Officer Avah Stalnaker noted, “We are pleased that Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) was ranked sixth in the State by the Lown Institute. Our mission has always been to provide excellent care and this study analyzed patient outcomes, the value of care provided and civic leadership.  Patient outcomes are paramount.  SJMH has been scored by CMS yearly and found to have very good patient outcomes also.  The staff at SJMH know that the patient is our primary concern and the focus of what we do. We will continue to offer excellent care and patient satisfaction.”

The honor was provided by The Washington Monthly magazine which released its inaugural “Best Hospitals for America” ranking, recently.  This particular ranking measured individual hospitals on how well they save lives, save money, and serve everyone–especially low-income and minority populations within their communities. 

This is in sharp contrast to the rankings by other companies. Some organizations for instance, reward hospitals for their reputations and record of delivering expensive specialized treatments and surgeries regardless of cost while ignoring whether those hospitals treat less well-off members in their vicinity. The Washington Monthly’s metrics, produced in partnership with the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan health care think tank, reveal that many of the top-rated hospitals on U.S. News’ list rate near the bottom in treating low-income and minority patients in their service areas. 

That’s why the Washington Monthly created the “Best Hospitals for America” ranking. The magazine used data drawn from the Lown Institute Hospitals Index not only to measure how well hospitals care for their patients but also to gauge the contributions hospitals make to the country and their communities.

Robin Poling, Mon Health SJMH Chair
Robin Poling, Mon Health SJMH Chair

The rankings used three main criteria:

  • The first criteria is patient outcomes (made up of three components: clinical outcomes, patient safety, and patient satisfaction) and patient safety. The company used well-established indicators provided by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its Hospital Compare website. 
  • The second criteria was for civic leadership: the degree to which a hospital treats patients with the same income and other demographics as its surrounding community; how much it contributes in community benefit, from providing charity care to building and operating free clinics;  how much it pays its senior executive compared to its frontline workers; and community health improvement activities such as free immunizations; contributions to community organizations; and community-building activities, such as setting up farmers’ markets or providing housing for homeless patients. 
  • The third criteria rated the value of care: how much a hospital overuses low-value tests and procedures. The focus on value is crucial because health care costs for most privately insured Americans have been rising at twice the rate of wages for years, helping to drive historic levels of income inequality. This includes rates of overuse for 13 low-value medical services, including some procedures such as hysterectomy for benign diseases or an EEG for headache. Some of those services were shown in high-quality clinical trials to be ineffective and are always considered overuse.

Mon Health SJMH Chair, Robin Poling noted, “This is a great honor.  It is so gratifying to be noticed and recognized for the great work we do here every day.  Unlike many hospitals around the country, our doctors, nurses, administrators and staff work so hard to serve our entire community regardless of ability to pay –not only in this time of dire need, but on a continuing basis.    We focus on value because health care costs for most Americans have been rising at twice the rate of wages for years, helping to drive historic levels of income inequality.  The Board of Directors of SJMH could not be any prouder of this accolade.” 

More than 400 staff members are employed by SJMH, which plays a very important part in the regional economy.  Staff members come from Braxton, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis, Marion, Randolph, and Upshur counties to name a few. 

As well as one of the Best Safety Net Hospitals in America, SJMH has also been honored with a number of other designations in the past year including:

  • U.S. News & World Report Top Hospital for Patient Experience
  • Gold WV Hospital Association Honors Program
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 3-Star Hospital
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services VBP – Net Recipient, improving each year (2018-2020)
  • The Joint Commission Accredited, including Lab
  • Baby-Friendly Designation
  • Level 4 Trauma Designation
  • Platinum Award for Center for Organ Recovery and Education
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