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Case Study


Walla Walla General Hospital: Setting Staff Up for Success in Pneumonia Care

Walla Walla General Hospital is one of the top-performing hospitals in the country on the pneumonia process-of-care measures, or "core," measures. The core measures, developed by the Hospital Quality Alliance and reported to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), relate to the provision of recommended treatment in four clinical areas: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and surgical care. Walla Walla ranks in the 99th percentile for the pneumonia care core measures, the 91st percentile for the heart failure core measures, and the 97th percentile for the surgical care core measures. The hospital also performs very well on the heart attack core measures, but treats too small a population to reliably tell how well it is doing, according to CMS guidelines. Those interviewed credit the hospital's high performance on the pneumonia care core measures to education and reinforcement, as well as improvements to care processes, reminders, and other supports created to give staff the tools they need to succeed.

This study was based on publicly available information and self-reported data provided by the case study institution(s). The aim of Commonwealth Fund–sponsored case studies of this type is to identify institutions that have achieved results indicating high performance in a particular area of interest, have undertaken innovations designed to reach higher performance, or exemplify attributes that can foster high performance. The studies are intended to enable other institutions to draw lessons from the studied institutions' experience that will be helpful in their own efforts to become high performers. Even the best-performing organizations may fall short in some areas or make mistakes—emphasizing the need for systematic approaches to improve quality and prevent harm to patients and staff. The Commonwealth Fund is not an accreditor of health care organizations or systems, and the inclusion of an institution in the Fund's case study series is not an endorsement by the Fund for receipt of health care from the institution.

Publication Details



A. Lashbrook, Walla Walla General Hospital: Setting Staff Up for Success in Pneumonia Care, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2010.