Fallon Medical Complex in Baker is one of six facilities in Montana to be named on a list of the 2020 Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the nation.

In addition to the Baker facility, the Barrett Hospital and Healthcare (Dillon), Beartooth Billings Clinic (Red Lodge), Central Montana Medical Center (Lewistown), Community Hospital of Anaconda (Anaconda) and North Valley Hospital (Whitefish) also made the list.

By comparison, North Dakota had 12 make the list, while Nebraska had 13. No Wyoming hospitals were on the list.

According to the Chartis Group, the annual list of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals is the result of a survey. Each year, the rural hospitals are analyzed through the lens of the Hospital Strength INDEX, the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance in the United States.

Reportedly, these top performers are honored for excelling in managing risk, achieving higher quality, securing better outcomes, increasing patient satisfaction, and operating at a lower cost than their peers.

“These groups serve as a benchmark for other rural facilities as they strive to achieve similar results and provide a blueprint for successfully navigating the uncertainty of the new healthcare,” a spokesman for the Chartis Group said in a release that announced the top 100 for the year 2020.

“Two of the most significant barriers impacting a rural hospital’s ability to identify gaps in performance and create improvement are, limited visibility into peer performance and limited access to timely and accurate benchmarks,” said Michael Topchik, National Leader, The Chartis Center for Rural Health. “By constructing the INDEX using rural-relevant metrics, we’re providing hospital leaders with the foundation necessary to break down these barriers and work collaboratively to improve hospital quality, patient safety, operations and finance.”

Since its inception in 2011, the Top 100 Critical Access Hospital award has recognized more than 350 hospitals across the United States. Among the Critical Access Hospitals receiving Top 100 status this year are 19 first-time recipients as well as seven hospitals earning this recognition for the ninth time. First introduced in 2016, the Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals award has recognized more than 200 hospitals. This year, the list contains 18 first-time award winners along with 25 hospitals who have been honored in each of the award’s five years.

“At a time when much of the national conversation surrounding rural healthcare focuses on instability, the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals and Top 100 Rural & Community Hospitals remind us that rural providers haven’t lost touch with their mission and are committed to delivering better quality, better outcomes and better patient satisfaction. It’s a pleasure to be able to not only recognize this year’s recipients, but our larger group of top 100 alumni as we celebrate ten years of the Hospital Strength INDEX,” said Topchik.

Based entirely on publicly available data, the INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive and objective assessment of rural hospital performance. Utilizing 50 independent indicators, the INDEX assesses performance across eight pillars of performance that span market-, value- and finance-based categories. The INDEX framework is widely used across the nation by independent rural hospitals, health systems with rural footprints and state offices of rural health which provide access to INDEX analytics through grant-funded initiatives.

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