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2015 Fall

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TIRR Memorial Hermann Moves Up the Rankings for Nation’s Top Rehabilitation Hospital

TIRR Memorial Hermann is the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and the second best in the United States, according to the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospital rankings for 2015-2016. The rehabilitation hospital’s ascent to the No. 2 spot marks its 26th consecutive year among the magazine’s Best Hospital rankings.

“This acknowledgment is a testament to our long-term legacy of leading medical rehabilitation, research, education and providing excellent care,” says Carl Josehart, CEO of TIRR Memorial Hermann. “It also demonstrates our continued innovation and the dedication of our affiliated physicians and staff to push the boundaries of rehabilitation. No matter how good we get, we’re always striving to improve.”

TIRR Memorial Hermann was founded in 1959 as one of the country’s first rehabilitation hospitals and has since grown to a 134-bed facility located in Houston’s world-renowned Texas Medical Center. The hospital has been consistently climbing in the U.S. News rankings for the past decade.

In addition to providing the highest level of rehabilitation services to patients, TIRR Memorial Hermann is also a leader in applying cutting-edge research to treat people with a range of disabilities and complex conditions such as brain and spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple trauma, amputation and neurodegenerative diseases.

“It’s not new that we do research – we’ve been doing it for more than 50 years,” says Rhonda Abbott, PT, administrative director and director of therapy services and clinical programs. “What’s different is our involvement in research on multiple diagnoses across disciplines. In addition to our research team, staff members from occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech-language pathology and music therapy are involved in the discovery of new knowledge. The opening of the TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center adjacent to the hospital and the gathering of all researchers under one roof has given researchers and clinicians new opportunities to work side by side. Researchers share new information with clinicians, who provide feedback on the patient and clinician perspective. All this allows us to quickly integrate research into clinical practice.”

Chief Medical Officer Gerard Francisco, M.D., believes that the academic community and general public are more aware than ever that clinicians at TIRR Memorial Hermann are unique in the quality of care they provide and in the customization of therapy to meet patients’ needs. “Enhancements we’ve made in the delivery of care – for instance, seven days of therapy instead of five, the integration of clinical and research operations, and our close collaboration with physicians – have made a difference,” says Dr. Francisco, who is chairman of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and director of the NeuroRecovery Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann. “This recognition serves as a reminder that we have to challenge ourselves on an ongoing basis and continue to strive to be even better. It represents the efforts of every single individual at TIRR, from clinicians to the staff in housekeeping who ensure that the environment is clean, from the kitchen staff who nourish our patients physically to the chaplain who nourishes our patients spiritually, and each one of our volunteers. They all share in this achievement.”

When Chief Operating Officer Mary Ann Euliarte, RN, M.S.N., M.B.A., CRRN, came to TIRR Memorial Hermann a decade ago, she set a goal of raising the standard of care by encouraging nurses to achieve advanced certification in their specialty. Today, 65 percent of eligible full-time and part-time nurses hold the certified rehabilitation registered nurse (CRRN) credential.

“Our nurses’ commitment to excellence is evidenced by our high percentage of clinical certifications, outstanding employee retention rate, participation in multidisciplinary research and our presence in print and on the podium at national forums,” says Euliarte, who is also chief nursing officer. “As we achieve one milestone we are carefully planning for the next. This is the way we work at TIRR Memorial Hermann – thoughtfully and intentionally with the goal of helping our patients and families achieve their new norm.”

Euliarte points to the passion for rehabilitation among the staff. “That passion shows in everything we do,” she says. “We’ve been on a progressive climb to improve and standardize and to educate and train. Our educational programs have grown, and clinicians now come from all over the nation to attend the workshops and seminars we offer. They go home and talk about what they’ve learned, and our reputation grows. I’m so proud of the work we’ve done, all of which has influenced the way we deliver care and made us the proven leader in rehabilitation.”

Dan Wolterman, president and CEO of the Memorial Hermann Health System, recognizes the work behind the accomplishment. “We’re so proud of the staff at TIRR Memorial Hermann and the consistent recognition they receive for providing patients with the best rehabilitative care possible,” he says. “Patients and their families come to our rehabilitation hospital from around the world because they know when they walk through the door they’ll receive only the highest level of care and compassion.”

Rhonda Abbott has said that it’s her goal to see TIRR Memorial Hermann move up to No. 1 before she retires. “We’re delivering amazing patient outcomes day in and day out. We’re leaders in pioneering evidence-based medicine, and we’re sharing that knowledge through internal and external education programs. We’re creating new knowledge through research that expands evidence-based practice. In the end, it’s not about the ranking. It’s about focusing on what we do best, challenging ourselves every day, and that genuine desire to help our patients return to fulfilling lives.”