Two HCA hospitals in the Tampa Bay area are at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to patient satisfaction, according to survey data now available on a government Web site.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson ranked best overall in the area in the first round of surveys which included 14 of 30 local acute-care hospitals. South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center was labeled the worst among participating hospitals.
The low-down on how patients rate their hospital experience is the latest information to be included on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "Hospital Compare" Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov). The site has long included data from the nation's nearly 5,000 hospitals on benchmarks like deaths from heart attacks and care for pneumonia.
But with the new patient survey information, consumers can get insight into other aspects of care, like which hospital's bathrooms are the cleanest and whether anybody comes when you push the call button.
South Bay, the 112-bed hospital trying to relocate to Riverview, fared worst among reporting hospitals locally on both cleanliness and quick response. Kathleen Mahoney of Sun City, who is opposing the relocation, said the hospital's poor marks are no surprise. "People tell me when they take a shower there, they have to put towels on the floor, it's so dirty,'' she said.
Terrie Jefferson, chief nursing officer at South Bay, called the survey results "disappointing," but said the information was dated, based on patient stays from October 2006 through June 2007. "Current data shows we are improving,'' Jefferson said of ongoing survey results not yet published.
HCA, the nation's largest hospital company, was among the 2,521 hospitals participating in the first round of CMS-sponsored surveys. As the owner of nine hospitals in the Tampa Bay area, it was disproportionately represented in the initial survey results. A spokeswoman for BayCare Health System, which also has nine local hospitals, said it did not participate initially due to technical issues.
Though participation in the first wave of surveys was voluntary, hospitals had to begin using CMS' system in July 2007 or face a financial penalty of as much as $100 per patient. BayCare as well as other local hospitals said they began collecting data in July. Data will be collected for a full year, then published on the CMS Web site in early 2009.
Hospitals have to use CMS-trained interviewers and a standardized survey, conducted by phone, mail or an interactive voice response system. A minimum 300 patients are interviewed from each facility. Among the 10 questions: How well do doctors and nurses communicate with the patient? Do they explain medications? Is the area quiet at night?
"People should use this first round of information as a benchmark," said Rich Rasmussen, spokesman for Florida Hospital Association,. "They should look at how hospitals improve over time."
Times staff writer Sandra Amrhein contributed to this report. Kris Hundley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 892-2996.