Stephen M. Leffler, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at the UVM Medical Center.

Stephen M. Leffler, MD, is Chief Medical Officer at the UVM Medical Center.

This week, the UVM Medical Center was named a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News & World Report for the third year in a row. Additionally, four of our specialty areas – Ear, Nose & Throat, Gynecology, Nephrology, and Orthopedics – were ranked as “High Performing.”

We’re very proud. The rankings are a great reflection on the UVM Medical Center – our people, our processes, and our partners – and echo other national rankings that show we are providing high quality care.

Earning this prestigious ranking year after year also reflects our dedication to the idea of High Reliability. Simply put, that means getting it right every single time. Achieving high reliability at Fletcher Allen is more than a goal; it is a culture in which every member of our team strives for perfection in every patient encounter.

One example is our infection prevention program, which has achieved impressive results. We have virtually eliminated central line bloodstream infections in our ICUs, and infections in our total hip and knee replacements, in the past 2-3 years:

  • 3 years with zero central line infections in our NICU;
  • 2 years with zero central line infections in the Pediatric ICU and only one in the Medical ICU;
  • 2 years with zero infections in knee replacement surgeries (640 procedures); and
  • 2 years with only one infection in total hip replacement surgeries (1,012 procedures).

We have also worked toward the prevention of surgical infections, where we achieved a 58 percent reduction in our already low rate after implementing a series of interventions in the OR and clinics.

One key factor in this success is the James M. Jeffords Institute for Quality and Operational Effectiveness, a team of 80 dedicated professionals who help us constantly improve the efficiency, cost and quality of the care we deliver.

It takes a great deal of focused effort to achieve these significant improvements in care. And it takes teams dedicated to constantly doing better – teams who are unwilling to settle for “good enough.” At the UVM Medical Center, we are striving every day to be a high reliability provider of health care. Our recognition in U.S. News & World Report shows we are on the right track.

Stephen M. Leffler, MD, FACEP, is the Chief Medical Officer at the UVM Medical Center, former Medical Director of the Emergency Department, and has been a practicing physician for 20 years. He is also a Professor at the Larner College of Medicine at UVM. He grew up in Brandon, VT.

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