"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Consumer Reports' Hospital Compare Data

 This morning, I was alerted by one of the Health System's board members that the Consumer Reports' Hospital Compare Data was in the news a.m.  The bottom line is that the information being shared by Consumer Reports is unfavorable for the majority of hospitals in the U.S. and Maryland in particular.  So, of course, I logged on and went to Maryland data with a focus on WMHS.  What garbage and they have the nerve to go public with "Trust Our Expert Ratings."  For WMHS, there isn't any Net Safety Score, there wasn't any Bloodstream Infection Score, Avoiding Readmissions Score was next to worst and for the Drug Information Score we received the worst rating.  Finally, we were rated highly for Electronic Records.  Where they got their information from is beyond me because for the most part, it's flat out wrong. 

First of all, none of the Maryland hospitals received a patient safety score; I would assume because we are a rate-regulated state operating under a Medicare waiver so that our information doesn't match up with the rest of the nation.  Secondly, seventeen of the Maryland Hospitals didn't receive a Bloodstream Infection score including WMHS and yet, I just got our scores last week showing a positive result in compared to other Maryland Hospitals.  As for Avoiding Re-admissions, we have taken those readmissions for which we are penalized and reduced them by over 10% to an average of about 8.5% (that's a great result).  For Drug Information, that information is from the HCAHPS survey data and our YTD result is 72.5%.  This means that almost 73% of those responding answered "Always" when asked if they were told about their new medicine.   That is a pretty good result when compared to other hospitals, especially in Maryland.  What is interesting is that every Maryland Hospital scored either worse or next-to-worse in both the Re-admission and Drug Information categories.  It appears that the Electronic Records rating is accurate as we have dedicated a great deal of resources to information technology at WMHS over the last several years.

I really have to question Consumer Reports’ expert ratings in this case.  They are virtually the same ratings as they were in the July 2012 report and I would certainly question the period of time that the ratings reflect.  I find it interesting that the Consumer Reports’ doctor in charge of hospital ratings is making the talk show rounds taking hospitals to task with ratings that are inaccurate or inconclusive for at least Maryland hospitals.

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