Through a collaborative effort led by VanDenBerg, one that included physicians and nurses, Grady officials were able to reduce central line-associated blood stream infections by 39% in 2012 compared to 2011. A similar effort directed at reducing catheter-associated urinary tract infections dropped the rate by 26% between the second quarter and fourth quarter of 2012. These initiatives to eliminate hospital-acquired infections have saved Grady about $1.8 million, VanDenBerg says. “As with any healthcare organization, the goal is to do no harm to your patient,” he says. “We're not there yet, we're not at zero, but we've taken our rates of central-line blood stream infections and reduced them by nearly 40%.”
For his accomplishments, Vandenberg won a place in Modern Healthcare's 2013 class of Up and Comers.
VanDenBerg, 40, joined Grady in 1996 after earning his master's of public health from Emory University, also in Atlanta. He is a native of Grand Rapids, Mich., and credits his family's primary-care physician as an early influence on his career interests. He says the physician provided a familiar face for support and knowledge about the profession and helped persuade him that he should consider using his talents in healthcare. Though he had dreams of becoming a physician, he shifted courses early on at college. He calls it “an awakening.”
“Administration was the right blend of business and healthcare,” he says. “It gave me a view into potentially impacting hundreds, if not thousands, of lives all at one time.”