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How does your hospital compare?

    TRI-COUNTY AREA—The U.S. Department of Human Services has recently updated their database of how patients rate hospital care.
    The latest information available online was added Jan. 26, 2012. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA) are using information from hospitals to create this database. According to the responses provided, the database measures how well hospitals cared for their patients, and whether the care was paid for by Medicare, Medicaid, or a private health insurance plan.
    The information posted on the website comes from data submitted by hospitals to the QIO Clinical Data Warehouse for all inpatient discharges. The data reflects 12 months of experience and is updated on a rolling basis. The most recent update shows patients’ responses for April 2010 to March 2011.
    Three area hospitals that are in the database are Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital, Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital, and Schuyler Hospital. Data is available for general experiences, medical conditions, and surgical procedures. The general information category includes a survey of patients’ hospital experiences. This includes subjects like hospital communication, cleanliness, and quality of care. According to CMS, all of the following responses came from 100 or more surveys in one year’s time. Don McLeod, CMS public affairs specialist, said if a percentage has fewer than 100 responses, it is marked as not being reliable data.
    One question asked was, were patients given information on what to do at home during recovery. At Soldiers & Sailors, 81 percent of patients said yes to this. Schuyler Hospital had 86 percent and Ira Davenport had 72 percent.
    At Soldiers & Sailors, 59 percent of patients reported their pain was always well controlled. Schuyler Hospital’s number was 73 percent. Ira Davenport patients said 67 percent.
    Another question was: people who said they always received help as soon as they wanted it. Of Soldiers & Sailors patients, 65 percent said this happened. Ira Davenport had 59 percent and Schuyler Hospital received 61 percent.
    Of the three area hospitals, the number of patients who said the area around their room was always quiet at night had some of the lower scores: 59 percent for Soldiers and Sailors, 50 percent for Schuyler, and 52 percent for Ira Davenport.
    Additional information is available for the treatment of specific conditions: heart attack, heart failure, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, diabetes, and chest pain. Surgical procedures included in the database are sorted by specific body area.
    To view the data, visit: There, a person can type in either a zip code or city/state for a list of hospitals within 50 miles. Up to three hospitals can be selected for a side-by-side comparison.
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services adds that a hospital’s quality is more than just its scores on these measures. Hospitals provide care for other illnesses and conditions for which measures are still under development. The agency encourages families to talk with a hospital when selecting one for care.




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