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News Release
GSH Earns Rare Planetree Designation
Original Release Date: August 27, 2013

KEARNEY - Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, Nebraska has been formally designated by Planetree, Inc. as a "Planetree Designated Patient-Centered Hospital." This designation recognizes Good Samaritan Hospital's achievement and innovation in the delivery of patient-centered care. Good Samaritan Hospital is the first and only hospital in Nebraska, and one of only 45 healthcare organizations worldwide to receive the Patient-Centered Designation since the program's launch in 2007.

"The Planetree Designation is the only award that recognizes excellence in person-centeredness across the continuum of care," said Susan Frampton, President of Planetree, Inc., an international not-for-profit organization that has been at the forefront of the movement to transform healthcare from the perspective of the patient for more than 30 years. "The designation signals to healthcare consumers that Good Samaritan Hospital is a hospital where providers partner with patients and families, and where patient comfort, dignity, empowerment and well-being are prioritized with providing top-quality clinical care."

The criteria that a hospital must satisfy to achieve designation reflect what patients, family members and healthcare professionals in hundreds of focus groups say matters most to them during a healthcare experience. This qualitative data aligns with the growing evidence-base for patient-centered care, and establishes the Planetree Designation as a concrete framework for defining and measuring excellence in patient-centeredness.

More than 60 specific criteria address components of a patient-centered healthcare experience, including patient-provider interactions, access to information, family involvement, the physical environment, food and nutrition, spirituality, arts and entertainment, and integrative therapies. In addition, the criteria focus on how the hospital is supporting its staff, opportunities for staff, patients and families to have a voice in the way care is delivered, and the ways that the hospital is reaching beyond its walls to care for its community.

Guided by these core components of a patient-centered culture, over the past 10 years, Good Samaritan Hospital has implemented a substantial number of initiatives and practices designed to enhance both the patient and staff experience.

Michael Schnieders, president of Good Samaritan Hospital, said, "It is an honor to be recognized by Planetree with this designation. The heart of Planetree's mission - providing person-centered care in a holistic healing environment - goes hand-in-hand with our central focus at Good Samaritan Hospital. And to be one of only 45 facilities in the world with Planetree designation is truly a reflection of our staff's dedication to putting the patient first."

As part of the designation process - which included a site visit by representatives from Planetree - focus groups with recent Good Samaritan Hospital patients and current staff validated that specific patient-centered policies are in place, including:
• non-restrictive visiting hours,
• an open medical chart policy,
• staff members at all levels are involved in the implementation of patient-centered care,
• the hospital's physical environment is a healing one engaging all of the human senses. Examples include the hospital's
Walkway Gallery which features rotating exhibits from local artists as well as architecture and a color scheme designed to promote healing and peace.

The process also included a review of the hospital's performance on publicly reported patient satisfaction and quality of care measures.

"A strength of the designation program has been the integration of qualitative and quantitative measures," explained Frampton. "Acute care hospitals in the U.S. awarded designation are held accountable for exceeding quality benchmarks for both quality and patient satisfaction."

All designation determinations are made by an independent committee of healthcare experts and CEOs from previously designated hospitals.