GRMC quality of care fares well in data comparison

By Kathryn Jones

Editor

GRMC's ER services received high marks from patients in the reported data. Photo courtesy GRMC

GRMC’s ER services received high marks from patients in the reported data. Photo courtesy GRMC

A new app on the quality of care at more than 300 Texas hospitals shows that Glen Rose Medical Center fared well in key quality-of-care indicators and outperformed its closest competitor, Lake Granbury Medical Center, in areas such as emergency room care and patient experiences.

The new app, “Texas Hospitals Explorer” was developed by the nonprofit Texas Tribune based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. You can access it at http://hospitals.texastribune.org/#compare/133/159.

The app allows readers to compare selected hospitals, including Glen Rose Medical Center, with Lake Granbury Medical Center and other area hospitals.

In emergency care, GRMC scored better than Lake Granbury in average time spent in the emergency room.

The average time spent in the ER before a patient received a diagnostic exam was 16 minutes for GRMC and 22 minutes for Lake Granbury..

GRMC also scored better in the average time a patient had to wait in the ER before being transferred to the hospital – 198 minutes compared with 226 minutes for Lake Granbury.

The average time a patient spent in the ER before being discharged and sent home was 111 minutes for GRMC and 113 minutes for Lake Granbury.

In clinical care, GRMC and Lake Granbury’s comparisons were virtually identical. Both hospitals scored no different than the national average in serious surgical complications and had “number of cases too small” on deaths among patients with serious, treatable conditions.

Health care-associated infections also scored either “not applicable” or no different than the national benchmark based on data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network.

Another key indicator, patient incomes, shows the rate at which patients treated for serious conditions had to return to the hospital within 30 days or died.

The Texas Tribune said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services calculated the rates using Medicare claims submitted by hospitals and patient-eligibility information.

“The rates are risk-adjusted and take into account characteristics of each patient — like age, medical history, and other diseases or conditions the patient had before entering the hospital — that could make readmission or death more likely regardless of the quality of care delivered by the hospital,” the Texas Tribune said.

The rate for 30-day unplanned readmission for GRMC was 15.5 percent for all patients discharged from the hospital, compared with 14.8 percent for Lake Granbury.

For heart attack patients, the rate was non-applicable at GRMC and 18.4 percent for Lake Granbury. For heart failure patients, GRMC’s readmission rate was 22.7 percent, compared with 21.7 percent for Lake Granbury. For pneumonia patients, the rate at GRMC was 17.6 percent and 15.1 percent for Lake Granbury.

Rates of death within 30 days of discharge was non-applicable for heart attack patients at GRMC and 16.7 percent at Lake Granbury; 12.5 percent for heart failure patients at GRMC, compared with 16.6 percent at Lake Granbury; and 11.7 percent for GRMC pneumonia patients, compared with 15.8 percent at Lake Granbury.

The third indicator area, patient experience, reflects how patients felt about their hospital experience, including the level of communication from hospital workers. The data came from a standardized survey created by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

“The survey has been used since 2006 to help consumers compare the quality of care between hospitals,” the Texas Tribune noted. “The surveys are taken by trained administrators at participating hospitals, analyzed and adjusted by CMS to account for differences in hospitals’ patient mix and other factors.”

Seventy-nine percent of patients surveyed gave GRMC a score of 9 or 10 on a 0-to-10 scale, compared with 65 percent for Lake Granbury. And 81 percent said they “would definitely” recommend GRMC, compared with 64 percent for Lake Granbury.

GRMC received the highest scores for communication, with 92 percent of patients surveyed saying the doctors “always” communicated well and 83 percent saying their nurses “always” communicated well.

For Lake Granbury, 83 percent of patients surveyed reported their doctors “always” communicated well and 73 percent of their nurses did.

GRMC also outscored Lake Granbury on patient reports of receiving help, room cleanliness and noise.

For GRMC, 78 percent of patients said they “always” received help as soon as they wanted; 79 percent reported their room and bathroom were “always” clean; and 73 percent reported the area around their room was “always” quiet at night.

The respective totals for Lake Granbury in those areas were 60 percent, 63 percent and 63 percent.

You can learn more about the data used in the survey at Medicare.gov.

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