Hilo Medical Center Intensive Care Unit Receives Beacon Award

Hilo’s ICU one of two in the state to be nationally recognized for exceptional care.

(Hilo, Hawaii) – Hilo Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit is the latest to be recognized for providing exceptional, nationally recognized care. After a seven-month long application process to demonstrate the unit’s progress over three years, the American Association for Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) announced HMC’s ICU as the recipient of the Beacon Award for Excellence.

The unit has been recognized for employing evidence-based practices to improve patient outcomes and patient and staff satisfaction. As a bronze-level awardee, HMC’s ICU demonstrated success in developing, deploying and integrating unit-based performance criteria for optimal outcomes.

“Over the past three years, our ICU has worked hard toward its goal of integrating best practices to achieving a higher quality of care and patient satisfaction,” said Dan Brinkman, East Hawaii Regional CEO of Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. “This awards program is unique in the way it provides a road map and tools for our ICU to develop and further the improvement in care, outcomes and patient satisfaction.”

“Certainly, our goal is to attain the gold-level of the Beacon Award,” said Arthur Sampaga Jr., HMC’s Chief Nursing Officer. “Our patients are already benefitting from our staff having engaged in the Beacon award program by applying significant changes to the unit workflow and processes.”

“In addition, by participating in the Beacon award, our staff has been motivated to obtain their national certification in Critical-Care Nursing,” added Sampaga. “Today, the majority of our ICU staff is certified and has a deeper understanding and competency of what it takes to care for our sickest patients. I congratulate our staff for assuming responsibility in achieving the goals they’re setting for themselves.”

The seven-month process of applying for the Beacon Award was a project initiated by staff. A small group of nurses worked together to gather the data, answer the many questions in the application, and put together a 52-page report on the progress of HMC’s ICU over the last three years. This report and process underscored the value of excellence with recognition as a state and national leader in sepsis treatment, infection control, and patient safety. The AACN responded with a comprehensive feedback report to chart the journey as the unit works over the next three years to apply for the next silver-level.

In May 16-19, 2016, six representatives from HMC’s ICU will attend the AACN National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in New Orleans to receive the award. The group will also about the latest best practices to bring back home to share and implement.

AACN’s Beacon Award of Excellence for Hilo Medical Center follows several other recent honors and accolades recognizing important milestones in its transformation as a leading hospital in Hawaii and the nation. 

(l-r) Jeanean Dillard, Director of Surgical and Intensive Care Services, Leilani Schabell, Beacon Project Lead and recently named ICU Nurse Manager, Dan Brinkman, East Hawaii Regional CEO, Maureen Gapp, recently retired ICU Nurse Manager, and Arthur Sampaga, Jr., Chief Nursing Officer celebrate the ICU’s national recognition.







About Hilo Medical Center

As the Big Island's leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care, Hilo Medical Center (HMC) delivers a full range of services and programs. Our 20-acre campus consists of 276 beds located throughout the 137-bed acute hospital, 20-bed behavioral health unit and a 119-bed long-term care facility. We have 1,000 employees and a medical staff comprised of 250 physicians, physician assistants and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses, representing 33 specialties. As a medical center, we have a network of nine outpatient clinics offering primary and specialty care. The hospital is a Level III Trauma Center which includes the second busiest emergency room in the state that provides 24-hour care to more than 44,000 patients annually. 


HMC ranks in the top 2% of hospitals in country and best in the state of Hawaii for preventing Hospital Acquired Conditions, according to CMS in 2015. The hospital is also a recipient of the 2015 Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award™ and a past recipient of the Mountain Pacific Quality Health's Quality Achievement Award. In 2015, we received the American Heart Association Gold Award for cardiac care. In 2013 and 2014, we were also recognized for quality long term care by Providigm for Quality Assurance & Performance Improvement Accredited Facility and Embracing Quality Award for the Prevention of Hospital Readmissions. Our long term care met the requirements for the American Health Care Association's Three Tier Level Quality Initiative Recognition Program.


In 2014, HMC's EMR team, HealthConnect, attained the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) Meaningful Use Stage 2. In addition, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) recognized HMC for achieving Stage 7 on the EMR Adoption ModelSM. HMC was received the HIMSS Nicholas E. Davies Award for Excellence in 2015 for demonstrating EMR utilization to improve quality of care and financial management.


We are part of the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, a public entity established in 1996 by the State of Hawaii to fulfill the promise to provide quality, hometown healthcare. For more information, go to: www.hilomedicalcenter.org.