Stroudwater Associates Principal Participates in Critical Access Hospital Quality Infrastructure Summit

National subject matter experts convened to identify components of quality infrastructure in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs); outlined essential criteria for achieving success.

Stroudwater Associates Principal Carla Wilber, DNP, RN, NE-BS, CATC, CPHQ was selected to participate in the Critical Access Quality Infrastructure Summit alongside national subject matter experts – an appointment that leverages Wilber’s deep expertise in healthcare quality improvement and Stroudwater’s long standing source for strategic, operational, financial, and clinical strategy for rural healthcare organizations.  

The two-day, in-person summit held in Bloomington, Minnesota, brought together the co-conveners the National Rural Health Resource Center, the Flex Monitoring Team and Stratis Health. Summit co-conveners and participants released a report that serves as a framework to assess CAH quality infrastructure, quality improvement processes and areas for improvement. The CAH inventory and assessment will help to inform State Flex Programs and CAH quality leaders to identify areas for improvement and implement a culture and practice of high quality. 

“Participating in the Summit and contributing to the report that defines practical, rural-relevant strategies for Critical Access Hospitals was incredibly rewarding,” said Wilber. “This report can assist rural hospital leaders in creating a sustainable quality infrastructure, allowing them to move beyond mere quality measures as they strive toward organizational excellence.”   

Combining decades of experience in rural healthcare, summit participants identified nine core elements essential to building a sustainable quality infrastructure, along with criteria to measure progress and ensure positive outcomes.  

Nine core elements for CAH quality infrastructure, include: 

  1. Leadership Responsibility and Accountability
  2. Workforce Engagement and Ownership
  3. Culture of Continuous Improvement Through Systems
  4. Engagement of Patients, Partners, and Community
  5. Using Data to Improve Quality
  6. Quality Embedded Within the Organization’s Strategic Plan
  7. Culture of Continuous Improvement Through Behavior
  8. Integrating Equity into Quality Practices
  9. Collecting Meaningful and Accurate Data  

“I am honored to work alongside Critical Access Hospital experts and quality improvement thought leaders devoted to improving rural healthcare for the millions of Americans who rely on it,” added Wilber. “Our work will empower CAHs to adopt systems, processes, and behaviors that are grounded in the connection between quality and patient outcomes and satisfaction.” 

Click here to access, Building Sustainable Capacity for Quality and Organizational Excellence, including nine strategies that CAH leaders and staff can adopt to more fully incorporate quality improvement efforts within their organizations.  

Carla Wilber, DNP, RN, NE-BS, CATC, CPHQ joined the Stroudwater team in 2014, bringing a strong background in nursing leadership, critical care, education, Lean process improvement, and emergency services. Wilber focuses on supporting rural providers in quality and operational improvement initiatives. She has completed numerous facility assessments and process improvements in quality, care management, emergency department, and care transitions for Critical Access Hospitals, rural and urban health systems, and provider groups. Wilber leads process improvement efforts in the development of the Clinical Care Delivery Spectrum and workflow optimization. She is a passionate advocate for combating the opioid epidemic and a leader of the Stroudwater Opioid Management Team.