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CaroMont Health CEO tapped for National Role



Contact: Rowena Buffett Timms

CaroMont Health

(704) 834-2226

CaroMont Health CEO tapped for National Role

Gastonia, NC – May 3, 2011 – CaroMont Health announced today that President and CEO Valinda Rutledge has been tapped by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to help craft innovative methods to improve national health care quality. The CMS is the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services that administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Rutledge will serve in a senior leadership position as Director of the Patient Care Models Group at the CMS’s new Center of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. The Innovation Center is working to improve the nation’s health care system for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries – three areas which collectively account for more than a third of all health care spending – by identifying and evaluating the best health care solutions from innovators around the country.

“The Innovation Center mission is to support physicians, nurses, hospital leaders and others in creating new care models that deliver better care, better health and reduced costs through improvement,” said Dr. Richard Gilfillan, Acting Director of the Innovation Center. “Valinda is perfectly suited to be a leader in that effort. Most recently, her work as CEO of CaroMont Health demonstrates that she is an innovative leader who understands the importance of care model redesign. We are thrilled to have her joining our team.”

During her tenure at CaroMont Health, Rutledge, the leadership team and the board adopted a vision of becoming a nationally recognized leader and valued partner in promoting individual health and vibrant communities. On her watch, CaroMont Health has moved forward in developing innovative programs such as the BC/BS 210 day Bundled Knee program, Triple AIM programs, and Accountable Care Organization development.

“In the time Valinda has been with us, she has helped to strategically position CaroMont Health and the surrounding community so that we are prepared for the future of health care,” said Spurgeon Mackie, Chairman of the Board of Trustees for CaroMont Health. Mackie goes on to say, “While we are very disappointed to see Valinda go, there is no question that we will continue our march forward along the path of progress.” Our Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and Physicians have met and we are fully aligned during this time of transition. Our zest for continued success is palpable. Our plan is to appoint an interim CEO while we conduct a national search for her replacement. CaroMont Health is extremely well-positioned for the future and we appreciate Valinda’s leadership to this point and wish her well in her new role at the Innovation Center.

CaroMont Health is already engaged in implementing aspects of the Accountable Care Organization model, a key component of ensuring quality under the recent federal health care legislation. Accountable Care Organizations focus on accountability for achieving highest outcomes at the lowest cost for individualized patient care. As part of that effort, CaroMont recently collaborated with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to offer patients a new health care delivery and reimbursement model for knee replacements.

“Thanks to the long-term commitment of our 3,800 employees and the medical community, CaroMont Health has achieved national recognition for quality and innovation in health care delivery,” Mackie said. “It’s rewarding to see that effort recognized in the selection of our CEO for such a critical national leadership role.”

Rutledge looks forward to the prospect of helping positively shape the delivery of care in the United States. “It is humbling to have the opportunity to make a difference on a national scale in terms of health care quality,” Rutledge commented. “I embrace this challenge and look forward to collaborating with my CEO colleagues throughout the country to transform care.”

About CaroMont Health –

CaroMont Health in Gastonia, North Carolina is a regional, independent, not-for-profit health care system and nationally-recognized “value-based” health care provider (high quality, low cost). CaroMont Health is the only hospital in the region named by Thomson Reuters as a 100 Top Hospital for quality care and is one of two HealthGrades’ Clinical Excellence recipients in North Carolina. CaroMont Health is among an elite group of 19 selected participants (out of 3,000 national hospitals/systems) engaged in demonstrating “Accountable Care Organizations” (hospitals focused on accountability for highest outcomes at the lowest cost for individualized patient care). CaroMont is engaged in innovative Chronic Disease Management pilot projects in partnership with local and regional employers, is implementing innovative prevention and wellness focused on individual and population health, and has a unique national partnership with GE and Sg2 to reduce costs and create integrated and coordinated systems of care. CaroMont Health also is among a select few hospitals to be granted a cardiology and cardiac surgery affiliation with Columbia University Medical Center in New York—a clinical partnership that provides patient access to world-class clinical guidance and research trials. CaroMont was recently upgraded by S&P to an AA bond-rating category—based on key rating factors that include: exceptional quality and clinical outcomes, excellence in governance and management structure, comprehensive information technology infrastructure, engaged excellence and integrated medical staff, fiscal accountability, operating performance, strong financial position and low cost structure.

CaroMont Health System encompasses CaroMont Regional Medical Center with 435 beds; Courtland Terrace, a 96-bed skilled nursing community; Gaston Hospice, which includes the inpatient 12-bed Robin Johnson House; and CaroMont Medical Group, an extensive network of physician practices in five counties and two states with nearly 200 employed physicians. The CaroMont Heart Center provides a full range of life-saving cardiac care, including open heart surgery. The CaroMont Heart Center provides a full range of life-saving cardiac care, including open heart surgery. Additionally, the CaroMont Cancer Center provides advanced 3-D radiation treatment planning and chemotherapy. An expansive, surgical suite offers the latest advancements such as stereotactic technology, which utilizes computer simulation, microscopic surgery and x-ray images to achieve pinpoint accuracy. CaroMont also offers a level III neonatal intensive care unit for high risk infants and a pre-adolescent psychiatric center. CaroMont Health is proactively engaged in achieving its vision: To be a nationally-recognized leader and valued partner in promoting individual health and vibrant communities.

CaroMont Health employs 3,800 health care professionals, including a medical staff membership of 455. CaroMont Health is located at 2525 Court Drive in Gastonia, N.C. and can be reached at 704-834-2000. Additional information is available at

CaroMont Quality Awards

Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care

CIGNA highest quality rating for Patient Outcomes in Angioplasty, Cardiac

Catheterization, Colon Surgery, Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, Craniotomy-Adult,

Disc Surgery, Heart Attack, and Spinal Fusion

Top Performer status (3rd highest score among all participating U.S hospitals, and highest score of any NC hospital) in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Premier

Healthcare Hospital Quality Incentive Demonstration project

Aetna – Recognized Institute of Quality Cardiac Care

Advanced Certification in Stroke Care from the Joint Commission

Advanced Certification in Diabetes Care from the Joint Commission

Hospital Value Index: Top 100 Best in Value Hospital

American Heart Association Heart Failure Gold Plus Performance Achievement Awards.

Certification in Hip and Knee Surgery from the Joint Commission

Commission on Cancer Outstanding Achievement Award from College of Surgeons

ACS MIDAS+ Platinum Quality Award Winner for Excellence in Clinical Performance

HealthGrades – 7 five-star designations in Back and Neck Surgery (spinal fusion), Heart Valve Replacement Surgery, Sepsis Care, Respiratory Failure Care, Pulmonary Care and Gastrointestinal Procedures & Surgeries. This includes an award for excellence in care of the

Back and Neck Surgery Cleverley + Associates Five-Star Honor for high community value

Among only 6 percent of national hospitals to achieve Magnet recognition status for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Association

Rated as a top hospital in the Charlotte metropolitan area by U.S. News & World Report

2010 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals award winner

About CMMI –

Congress created the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (the Innovation Center) under the recent federal healthcare legislation (the Affordable Care Act), giving it the authority and direction to “test innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures, while preserving or enhancing the quality of care” for those who get Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP benefits.

The Innovation Center is charged with evaluating various models on the quality of care furnished and the changes in spending. Its mandate gives it great flexibility in selecting and testing innovative payment and service delivery models, and enables it to work with Medicare, State Medicaid and CHIP programs to better serve beneficiaries. The Affordable Care Act will provide $10 billion in direct funding to the center over the next 10 years to support this mission.

The Affordable Care Act also allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to expand, through rulemaking, the scope and duration of models proven effective after evaluation. This would include the power to implement successful models on a nationwide basis covering the entire Medicare, Medicaid, or CHIP populations.

The Innovation Center is part of a broader effort by CMS and other federal agencies to help clinicians and other health care providers reduce costs while delivering higher quality care. With the help of the Innovation Center, CMS is working to transform from a claims payer from a fragmented care system, into a partner that helps achieve better value for our health care dollars. It is working to create a health care system that provides seamless, coordinated care for beneficiaries.