Healthcare is complex, no doubt. But the federal government has finally given us a helpful tool to make it a little easier for the everyday consumer to make decisions.
Medicare recently released a five star hospital rating system resulting from patient satisfaction scores. The new star rating system is based on eleven aspects of patient experience, and measures topics such as how well nurses and doctors communicate with patients, how well patients’ pain is managed, and whether the hospital is clean and quiet.
Many prominent hospitals received two or three star ratings, while comparatively small community hospitals, including Los Alamos Medical Center, and specialty hospitals received high scores. Los Alamos Medical Center (LAMC) received a four star rating.
“We are delighted with our four-star score,” LAMC’s CEO Feliciano Jiron said. “Our staff has been working consistently and systematically to improve patient satisfaction. While we have been enjoying small victories along the way, these four stars are proof their hard work and dedication is paying off. It takes a team to achieve this accomplishment and our support, clinical and physician staff have shown that.”
In all of New Mexico just five hospitals – Los Alamos Medical Center, Cibola General Hospital in Grants, Lincoln County Medical Center in Ruidoso, the Nor-Lea Hospital District in Lovington, and Lovelace Westside Hospital in Albuquerque, earned four stars.
Most New Mexico hospitals were awarded two or three stars. Presbyterian Espanola Hospital and Holy Cross in Taos each received three stars. Christus St. Vincent earned two stars. New Mexico is among the 13 states plus the District of Columbia that did not have a single five-star hospital. The ratings were based on the experiences of patients who were admitted between July 2013 and June 2014.
“LAMC’s four star rating is a direct reflection of our committed and compassionate staff,” said Tracie Stratton, Chief Nursing Officer for LAMC. “We all live and work in the area, our patients are our family and our neighbors, and providing them the best care possible is what we strive to do every moment they are here.”
Stratton is constantly looking for opportunities to improve the patient experience. “We take feedback from patients very seriously,” Stratton said. “We always use their comments and concerns as opportunities to grow stronger and provide better service.”
“I’ve been on the board 15 years and there is no comparison to the product we provide between then and now. LAMC and Los Alamos should take considerable pride in our “level of medical services,” said LAMC Advisory Board Member Roger Waterman.
The ability to evaluate a hospital is increasingly more important as insurance plans offer patients limited choices. Some in the industry fear Medicare’s five-star scale will place too much weight on patient reviews, which are just one reflection of hospital quality.
“We want to expand this to other areas like clinical outcomes and safety over time, but we thought patient experience would be very understandable to consumers so we started there,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Medicare awarded the top rating of five stars to 7 percent of all the hospitals Medicare judged across the United States, Kaiser Health News research reported. Some of the nation’s most well-regarded hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, and Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago only earned three stars. The government gave its lowest rating of one star to 101 hospitals, or 3 percent.
Want to know more?
Visit: www.medicare.gov and choose hospitals to compare.
Click on “survey of patients’ experiences” to see star ratings.
About Los Alamos Medical Center
About Los Alamos Medical Center is committed to providing a care experience that is coordinated, comprehensive and compassionate. All of which allows us the privilege of putting our compassion into action for you. Los Alamos Medical Center, Compassionate care, Close to Home.