Consumer

Report: Valley hospitals rank low in patient safety

Friday, July 06, 2012

Some Valley hospitals may not be in the best "health". Consumer Reports rated medical centers in the state, and one South Valley hospital landed at the bottom of the list for the entire state. Other Valley hospitals also responded to their rankings.

The Consumer Reports survey looks at things like infection rates, readmissions after treatment, and medical complications. Community Regional Medical Center ranked a 36 out of 100 for the safety score. Action News asked, and no one here was available to comment on the results on Thursday.

Other hospitals here in the Valley scored even lower.

On the surface, this Consumer Reports study does not look good for Valley hospitals. Seven of them, from Merced to Hanford, ranked low for patient safety.

Adventist Medical Center, in Hanford scored lowest in the state. "Since the time that the data was collected, we've made statistically significant improvements in the care that we provide," said Kristen Johnson with Adventist Medical Center.

Johnson, the Vice President of Care Services said the data used in the study is several years old. Recently Adventist moved into a brand new facility and made improvements with central line infections -- when someone gets sick from an IV or a catheter. Johnson says Adventist created a team that focused making these procedures safer.

The study pulled data from government and independent sources. It only looks at 18 percent of American hospitals.

In the Central Valley, Fresno Heart and Surgical Hospital scored a 46 -- the highest rating in the Central Valley. Followed by Saint Agnes, Mercy Hospital, Clovis Community, Community Regional Medical Center, Kaweah Delta, and Adventist Medical Center.

"No hospital got a top score for preventing patients from being readmitted, or for communicating with patients about discharge instructions and new medications," said Dr. John Santa with Consumer Reports.

The hospitals Action News spoke with all say there is always room for improvement. In a written statement St. Agnes officials said, in part: "It is only through careful and ongoing evaluation that we can identify what's working well and where there are opportunities to improve."

Kaweah Delta's chief medical officer says the study does not present a complete picture since much of the data is not current. "We're confident that when the next wave of data is released, it will be quite evident that we have improved."

The top ranking hospital in California, Bakersfield Heart Hospital, only scored a 68 out of 100.

Consumer Reports acknowledges its investigation has limited information. It says not all hospitals report safety issues. Also, the report does not take into account success rates for medical treatment. It recommends using several sources when evaluating a hospital yourself.

The study will be published in the August edition of Consumer Reports magazine.

READ THE ENTIRE REPORT HERE (PDF)

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