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Effingham Health System maintains four-star rating
Interim Chief Nursing Officer Gaynell Miller, MS, RN, is all smiles after receiving a holiday table arrangement during the Dec. 19 breakfast with area media members. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
We don't want to meet expectations. We want to exceed them.
Interim Chief Nursing Officer Gaynell Miller, MS, RN

SPRINGFIELD — Effingham Health System's Christmas decorations have been sprinkled with a few extra stars.

During a Dec. 19 breakfast with area media members, CEO Frank Baker-Witt announced that the hospital has been recognized for its quality of care by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the second straight year. It received the four stars from the government agencies that make it possible for millions of Americans to receive health care.

 "That's the crowning jewel — to be able to sustain that level of performance and meet the expectations of the patients," Baker-Witt said following the breakfast.

Effingham Health System's rating is based on patient surveys, making it extremely satisfying for Baker-Witt.

"To really make that rating, your patients have to say that they would recommend your hospital to someone else," Baker-Witt. (The rating) is driven by the patients."

"The patients have to 'always' love the service to get an excellent rating," said Gaynell Miller, MS, RN, interim chief nursing officer. "We can't have a bad day. We can't even have a semi-good day.

"(Patient satisfaction) has to be always and consistent."

Miller said Effingham Health System thinks about patients in everything it does.

"We want our staff to treat our patients the same way they would treat our families," she said. "That's why we are always trying to exceed expectations. We are always focusing on their needs.

"We involve them in the decision making and the care involving them and their significant others because that is a critical part of the healing — to embrace the patient, their caregivers, their significant others, their neighbors. Being a community like this, other people are involved."

Miller is proud that Effingham Health System offers care that rivals many larger hospitals, including cancer treatment.

"Here, it's about the entire experience," she said. "That's where are energy and our efforts are really going. We don't want to meet expectations. We want to exceed them."