Dixie Regional Medical Center named second-best hospital in Utah

ST. GEORGE — After placing fourth last year, Dixie Regional Medical Center was named the second-best hospital in Utah and a high performer in seven medical procedures by the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals list.

The main entrance to Dixie Regional Medical Center on in St. George, Utah on May 8, 2020. | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

DRMC, which is changing its name to St. George Regional Hospital in 2021, placed second to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City and ahead of third-place Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah – the flagship facility of Intermountain Medical.

“It reinforces what we believe … that we have world-class healthcare in St. George,” DRMC Administrator Mitch Cloward told St. George News. 

Cloward relates going into a huddle with staff Wednesday morning to go over the latest patient-satisfaction surveys. The results were 96% of patients saying they would highly recommend the hospital.

“That’s another manifestation of what people can expect coming here,” Cloward said.

The annual list looks at data from more than 5,000 hospitals nationwide, examining 16 adult medical specialties, 10 adult procedures or conditions, and 10 pediatric specialties.

Logo for U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Hospitals list. | Photo courtesy U.S. News & World Report, St. George News

Dixie Regional was named “high performing” in seven procedures and/or conditions: heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, heart bypass surgery, aortic valve surgery, and hip and knee replacement.

Dr. Patrick Carroll, the hospital’s medical director, took note of the hospital being recognized for its cardiovascular and orthopedic programs.

“My takeaway is the members of our community can have a tremendous amount of confidence that they will get cardiovascular care and orthopedic care,” Carroll said, adding the hospital’s COPD clinic is a bragging point. “We’re unique in that we have an outpatient clinic that was one of the first in the nation. That gives us an advantage. Our goal is to keep them out of the hospital.”

Not just doctors and nurses 

If hospitals were a “Family Feud” category, the question “What people would you see in a hospital?” Doctors would probably have a shot at being the No. 1 answer on the board. 

But while giving credit to the main caregivers, Cloward said there were others at Dixie Regional who played a role in earning the U.S. News & World Report honors. 

Staff gets to work at Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George, Utah, in an undated photo. | Photo courtesy Intermountain Medical, St. George News

“Clearly, the physician is the captain of the ship, but these are the functions of teamwork,” Cloward said. “There’s a tech, or a nurse practitioner, a nurse, staff, janitorial crew… the list goes on and on.”

That staff are also members of the community. As the hospital keeps rising in reputation, the city around it is rising in growth. It’s also not lost that the region is home to a growing retirement community that has a greater need for health care. 

And Carroll agrees both go hand in hand.

“When young families move into a community, one of the key things they look for are the quality of the schools. When retired people move into a community, they ask, ‘What is the quality of healthcare?’” Carroll said. “It’s no secret we have a large retirement community. As that has expanded, our services have expanded.”

It’s also no secret that after Dec. 31, the Dixie name is going away as the hospital becomes St. George Regional Hospital. Cloward said while he understands the consternation of some with the name change, he said it is another step in building the hospital’s national reputation. 

“For some who live in this community, the word dixie has a beautiful meaning. To how people sacrificed. But for others outside the area, and even some in this area, it can be confusing and offensive. We’re recruiting nationally and St. George is a good identifier” Cloward said. “We’re recruiting physicians and caregivers across the country. We’re building the reputation of our hospital.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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