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Monterey Herald Highlights Salinas Valley Health Honor

Monterey Herald Highlights Salinas Valley Health Honor

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

August 10, 2022 SALINAS — Recognized as one of the top five hospitals in the nation for being socially responsible, Salinas Valley Health ranked high in health equity, patient outcomes and value of care by the Lown Institute Hospitals Index.

“This relatively new ranking of socially responsible hospitals is very data driven and is derived from specific evidence-based metrics,” said Salinas Valley Health President and CEO Pete Delgado. “We are consciously and intentionally building a stronger framework to address the equity divide and to continuously excel at providing safe, quality care that results in outstanding patient outcomes.”

Delgado said the Salinas Valley Health’s Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic is one example of a specific, ongoing investment to provide health care to families with barriers to getting the care they need and deserve.

“Citizens put their lives and billions of tax dollars in the hands of America’s hospitals,” said Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, in a press release. “We believe communities should have expectations and the most socially responsible institutions should be lifted up as models for the system.”

The Lown Institute was founded in the early 1970s by Nobel Prize-winner Bernard Lown, developer of the defibrillator and cardioverter. Its Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility uses evidence-based metrics to evaluate health care providers in key areas including racial inclusivity, avoidance of overuse and pay equity.

The Lown Institute Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility measures more than 3,600 hospitals with less than 2% earning top marks across the categories of health equity, patient outcomes and value of care. The index considers 53 metrics in the broader categories of inclusivity, pay equity, community benefit, avoiding overuse, cost efficiency, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and patient safety. A total of 66

U.S. hospitals earned the distinction of “Most Socially Responsible” by receiving an overall “A” grade in health equity, patient outcomes and value of care. Salinas Valley Health Medical Center came in fifth in the nation.

This is not an honor Salinas Valley Health applied to receive but rather a ranking based on the index, said Karina Rusk, a Salinas Valley Health spokesperson.

The institute looked at three categories and metrics within those categories. Under the equity category — inclusivity, pay equity and community benefit; in the value category— avoiding overuse and cost efficiency; and in the outcome category — clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction, and patient safety; were some of the metrics measured.

“The Lown Institute analyzes specific metrics to generate its ranking. Our organization has long taken a broad view of our commitment to social responsibility,” said Rusk. “In general, it’s doing the right things for the right reasons. We value cultural diversity, are focused on closing the gaps in health equity and are dedicated to providing the highest levels of care for our patients and community.”

Delgado said that the Salinas Valley Health strongly believes in collaboration to address equity, diversity and inclusion for the community.

“It’s why we’ve partnered with other health care organizations, businesses and nonprofits to advance culturally sensitive health and wellness opportunities for all,” said Delgado. “We believe initiatives like the Monterey County Diabetes Collaborative and Blue Zones Project Monterey County are proven tools in achieving success and reducing the risk of chronic disease.”

He stressed that it is not just about helping people live longer, but to live better across all aspects of their lives, and Delgado said it starts with being a premier employer with an engaged workforce that delivers on the organization’s mission and goals for patient care and community health.

Salinas Valley Health says it places high value on investing in community health and reaching underserved populations. One such initiative is its Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic, which was launched in January 2020 to address health inequities in Monterey County. As of July, the Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic team has conducted nearly 8,800 patient visits, almost all in underserved communities and neighborhoods, done nearly 2,400 COVID-19 tests, administered more than 1,300 COVID-19 vaccines and performed more than 500 sports physicals for high school students. All services by the Salinas Valley Health Mobile Clinic are free to patients and provided regardless of immigration status.

To compile its rankings, the Lown Institute used publicly available data from Medicare claims, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hospital cost reports, Internal Revenue Service 990 forms, and other sources.

The report also noted that many hospitals achieved success while also operating during pandemic challenges and managing a high number of COVID-19-positive patients. The COVID-19 burden metric however does not factor into the final hospital social responsibility ranking. The rankings and a full methodology are available on the Lown Hospitals Index website.

“Our entire team sets high benchmarks for the standard of care we provide,” said Delgado. “In the same month we found out about our ranking on the social responsibility index, we received a national award from the American Hospital Association for our partnership with Montage Health for our success with the Monterey County Diabetes Collaborative.”

Delgado also pointed out that the Salinas Valley Health’s magnet designation for nursing excellence is an accomplishment only 9% of hospitals nationwide have achieved.

“We are fortunate and proud our staff is fully engaged in using evidence-based practices to deliver exceptional care,” he said. “It’s important that our patients and families know they can get the highest level of care right in their own backyard.”

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