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Phoebe responds to poor ranking

By   /   December 5, 2012  /   Comments

Staff Reports

Albany, Ga – Social media sites were abuzz yesterday as word floated about Phoebe’s ranking as the sixth worse hospital in the nation.  The ranking was on Health.com’s website and came courtesy of a group called Leapfrog.

From health.com:

The report was issued by Leapfrog, a coalition of public and private purchasers of health insurance benefits. The group recently updated its June list of poor-performing hospitals, giving D and F grades to those that represent “the most hazardous environments for patients in need of care.”

Folks throughout Southwest Georgia weighed in with their opinions on the health.com site, as well as social media sites like Facebook.  Many expressed dismay, while many others professed an utter lack of surprise at the ranking.

Phoebe issued the following release regarding the ranking:

Albany, GA—The Leapfrog Group, a national healthcare reporting agency released the results recently of its annual survey on hospital safety. Phoebe Putney Health was among 146 hospitals around the country, including the UCLA Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic, that Leapfrog assigned an undesirable grade.

“We applaud all efforts to share information with consumers that will help them make wise choices and have meaningful, informed conversations with their physicians” said Douglas W. Patten, MD, FACS, senior vice president, Medical Affairs Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. “There are several different measures and methodologies that are used to measure a hospital’s quality and safety, so one report or grade will not give an accurate picture of the care that is delivered. The fact that renowned medical providers, such as UCLA and Cleveland Clinic, were ranked poorly in Leapfrog’s system really shows the subjective and unpredictable nature of these reports.”

“We receive our accreditation and certification from The Joint Commission http://www.jointcommission.org/, which puts our hospital and every other Joint Commission hospital, through rigorous on-site survey visits. We feel accrediting bodies like The Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) site http://hospitalcompare.hhs.gov provide a more accurate reflection of the care we provide,” said Patton. “It is important to note that the Leapfrog survey includes a voluntary survey and if we had completed that survey, we would have received a different assessment from Leapfrog. We should have filled out the survey for this report and we will make every effort to ensure the survey is completed prior to the next reporting period.”

“Patient safety is our first priority and we want our community to know how we are improving. We are proud of the medical staff, nursing staff and other clinicians as well as the entire family of employees who deliver great care to the residents of our community.

There are many things we do really well and other areas in which there is greater room for improvement. We are always striving for excellence,’” said Patton. “The Leapfrog report uses data from as far back as 2009. Since that time we have made many improvements and changes that have enhanced patient care and reduced the risk of avoidable complications. This includes everything from implementation of new Information Systems to improve coordination of care and reduce errors, to adoption of the latest evidence based protocols to reduce the risk of common infections to near zero.”

“At Phoebe, we continually assess every facet of our organization – especially patient safety and quality care – and keep working hard to get better. The report covers areas that can be affected by the care delivered in a hospital as well as the underlying health of a population before hospital admission. We will review the Leapfrog report in more detail and factor in the data as we assess the best use of our resources to improve healthcare in Southwest Georgia.”

Meanwhile, Leapfrog says the following regarding its rankings:

In response to this silent epidemic, more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals will now receive an A, B, C, D or F Hospital Safety ScoreSM based on patient safety via a first-of-its-kind initiative. A Blue Ribbon Panel of the nation’s top patient safety experts provided guidance to The Leapfrog Group, an independent national nonprofit run by employers and other large purchasers of health benefits, to develop the Hospital Safety Score. The Hospital Safety Score is calculated using publicly available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections. “The Leapfrog Group’s goal is to give patients the vital information they need and deserve before even entering a hospital,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO, The Leapfrog Group. “We hope people will use this score to talk with their doctor, make informed decisions about where to seek care, and take the right precautions during a hospital stay.”

There is no mention of a failure to reply to the voluntary survey negatively impacting a hospitals score.  The Journal was unable to reach anyone at Leapfrog for comment.

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