Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New hospital ratings rankle Tampa Bay area hospitals

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel was among the Tampa Bay region’s top-performing hospitals in the new federal hospital quality ratings. It was one of three Tampa Bay-area hospitals to receive four stars out of a possible five.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel was among the Tampa Bay region’s top-performing hospitals in the new federal hospital quality ratings. It was one of three Tampa Bay-area hospitals to receive four stars out of a possible five.

No hospitals in the Tampa Bay region received the top score of five stars in the federal government's first-ever overall hospital quality rating this week.

Three received the next highest designation: Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, Mease Countryside Hospital and Mease Dunedin Hospital.

The lowest-performing hospitals were South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, Florida Hospital Tampa and Bayfront Health Brooksville. Each received one star.

All other facilities in the region received a two- or three-star rating.

The new ratings of 3,617 hospitals on a one- to five-star scale roiled many hospital officials — locally and nationally. The hospital industry argues the ratings make places that treat the toughest cases look bad and had been pressing the Obama administration and Congress to block their release.

But Medicare held firm, saying that consumers need a simple way to objectively gauge quality. Medicare does factor in the health of patients when comparing hospitals, though not as much as some hospitals would like.

In a statement, leaders at the two-star rated Tampa General Hospital said they support the goals of "health groups formulating quality measures." But they raised concerns about the new federal system, saying it "oversimplifies the complexities of health care in a way that is not useful to consumers."

Tampa General officials also characterized the ratings as "badly skewed in (their) evaluation of America's teaching and safety-net hospitals."

Florida Hospital, which had some of the state's best and worst rated facilities, added that the ratings "fail to adjust for patient circumstances that influence health and health care outcomes that are outside a hospital's control."

Nationwide, just 102 hospitals received the top rating of five stars, and few were those considered as the nation's best by private ratings sources such as U.S. News & World Report or viewed as the most elite within the medical profession.

Medicare awarded five stars to relatively obscure hospitals and at least 40 hospitals that specialize in just a few types of surgery, such as knee replacements. There were more five-star hospitals in Lincoln, Neb., and La Jolla, Calif., than in New York City or Boston. Memorial Hermann Hospital System in Houston and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., were two of the nationally known hospitals getting five stars.

Medicare awarded the lowest rating of one star to 129 hospitals. Five hospitals in Washington, D.C., received just one star, including George Washington University Hospital and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, both of which teach medical residents.

Federal health officials based the star ratings on 64 individual measures that are published on its Hospital Compare website, including death and infection rates and patient reviews. Some measures are based on data only from Medicare beneficiaries; others are based on data from hospitals' general patient population.

Medicare noted that specialized and "cutting-edge care," such as the latest techniques to battle cancer, are not reflected in the ratings.

Dr. Elizabeth Mort, chief quality officer at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — which Medicare awarded four stars — said Medicare should have factored in attributes of each hospital, such as what kind of services it offered and how the nursing profession assesses the staff quality.

Steven Lipstein, the president of BJC HealthCare in St. Louis, which runs Barnes-Jewish Hospital and 13 others, said that Medicare awarded between two and four stars to the system's hospitals, even though they all "employ the same standards, the same methodology, the same clinical guidelines." The major difference, he said, was the comparative affluence of the patients each served, with poorer scoring hospitals located in lower income areas.

"The stars tell you more about the socio-demographics of the population being served than the quality of the hospital," he said in an interview.

A preliminary analysis Medicare released last week found hospitals that treated large numbers of low-income patients tended to do worse. Medicare does not consider patients' social and financial situations in rating hospitals.

A sizable proportion of the nation's major academic medical centers, which train doctors, scored poorly, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. Out of 288 hospitals that teach significant numbers of residents, six in 10 received below-average scores, the analysis found. Teaching hospitals comprised one-third of the facilities receiving one star. A number were in high-poverty areas, including two in Newark, N.J., and three in Detroit.

Dr. Kate Goodrich, who oversees Medicare's quality ratings, said in a statement that it has been using the same type of rating system for other medical facilities, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers, and found them useful to consumers and patients. Those ratings have shown, she said, "that publicly available data drives improvement, better reporting, and more open access to quality information for our Medicare beneficiaries."

Dr. Bruce Flareau, chief medical officer for the BayCare Health System in the Tampa Bay region, said he believes patients and their families should use information about hospital quality to make informed decisions about providers. But their research shouldn't end with the ratings, he said.

"It should start there," he said.

Times staff writer Kathleen McGrory contributed to this report.

Measuring up

Here's how the Tampa Bay region's hospitals stacked up in the federal government's new hospital quality ratings:

Four stars

Mease Countryside Hospital

Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel

Mease Dunedin Hospital

Three stars

Florida Hospital Carrollwood

Florida Hospital Zephyrhills

Oak Hill Hospital

Medical Center of Trinity

South Florida Baptist Hospital

St. Petersburg General Hospital

Florida Hospital North Pinellas

St. Joseph's Hospital

Morton Plant North Bay Hospital

Morton Plant Hospital

Brandon Regional Hospital

Two stars

Palms of Pasadena Hospital

Bayfront Health Dade City

Tampa Community Hospital

Largo Medical Center

Northside Hospital

St. Anthony's Hospital

Tampa General Hospital

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point

Bayfront Health St. Petersburg

Memorial Hospital of Tampa

One star

South Bay Hospital

Florida Hospital Tampa

Bayfront Health Brooksville

Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

New hospital ratings rankle Tampa Bay area hospitals 07/28/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 29, 2016 8:57am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Memorial service sparks wistful memories for daughter of slain Hillsborough deputy

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — As the somber notes of "Taps" sounded in a stiff breeze, Sherri Longway thought about her father.

    
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee, far left, stands with his hand over his heart along with others during the HCSO's annual Law Enforcement Memorial Service Wednesday, May 24, 2017 in the Ybor City area Tampa. Sheriff David Gee along with dignitaries and members of the sheriff's office paid tribute to members of the Sheriff's Office who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
  2. Editorial: Super Bowl yardsticks for bay area

    Editorials

    From the moment they arrive, Super Bowl fans returning to Tampa for the NFL title game in 2021 will see and experience an entirely new Tampa Bay region. Whether it's the expanded airport, the growing universities and thriving downtowns or the new entertainment destinations and incubators for business, visitors will feel …

    From the moment they arrive, Super Bowl fans returning to Tampa for the NFL title game in 2021 will see and experience an entirely new Tampa Bay region.
  3. Convicted murderer whose release Pam Bondi fears will stay behind bars

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — A former Tampa police officer convicted in 1980 of murdering a security guard will not be released from prison after a parole hearing that Attorney General Pam Bondi said could have put her at risk.

    Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi arrives for an injunction hearing at the Hillsborough County Courthouse, Wednesday, May 17, 2017, in Tampa, regarding William Norman Wilkes, the man she alleges has been stalking her. On Wednesday, the Florida Commission on Offender Review is set to consider whether to let Charles Norman, a former Tampa police officer convicted of murder, will seek his possible release. Bondi says Norman has sent her threats. "He is a menace to society and needs to remain behind bars," Bondi said.   [Loren Elliott | Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Romano: On this education bill, you decide who is evil

    Politics

    The political ramifications are not lost on Kristine Benson.

    Six-year-old Chase Benson was born with down syndrome and autism. He attends a private school in Palm Harbor through a Gardiner Scholarship. [Photo courtesy of Kris Benson]
  5. St. Petersburg police team with federal agencies to crack down on gun and drug offenders (w/video)

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — Police say Raymond Adams, 29, jumped a fence to break into a home in the 800 block of 51st Street Avenue S.

    Some of the guns confiscated during an eight month firearms, drug trafficking, and violent crime operation dubbed the St. Petersburg Violent Crime Reduction Initiative were on display Wednesday, 5/24/17 at the St. Petersburg Police Department.  Federal charges have been filed against 35 individuals and state charges have been filled against 9 individuals in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times