Hospitals release report cards on patient care

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(Host) Vermont hospitals released a report card on Monday that measures how well they’re doing at providing health care to their communities. Two years ago, the Vermont Legislature passed a bill requiring hospitals to produce the reports. The effort also reflects a nationwide trend to improve the quality of health care.

VPR’s Steve Zind reports.

(Zind) As health care costs have continued to rise, so has interest in taking a hard look at how efficiently and effectively services are delivered. Three years ago, the Institute of Health issued a major report called “Crossing the Quality Chasm,” which said, “health care today harms too frequently and routinely fails to deliver its potential benefits.” The report said health care is often not delivered in a timely, consistent way that assures patient safety and makes the most of the technology available.

(Larry Ramunno) “What we have to acknowledge is the system we have isn’t giving us the results we want.”

(Zind) Larry Ramunno is with the Northeast Health Care quality Foundation, a non-profit group that represents physicians. The group helped produce the report card on Vermont’s hospitals. Ramunno says Vermont is ahead of most of the nation in making improvements.

(Ramunno) “We’re trying to take this large boat and get it to move. And it’s starting to accelerate. And I would say at the prow of that boat, Vermont is out there. Are they way out there? No. But they’re in front.”

(Zind) The report includes information on each of Vermont’s hospitals focusing on the quality of care given to heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients. Patient satisfaction is also measured.

According to the report, Vermont hospitals are generally performing as well, or in many cases better than the national average. But health care experts stressed that there is plenty of room for improvement and that this report will serve as a benchmark to measure those improvements. Jill Olson is with the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

(Olson) “The national average isn’t really good enough and we want to be a lot better. The entire health care industry has a long way to go in terms of getting to the level of performance that other industries are at.”

(Zind) Olson says experts are increasingly looking to businesses like airlines and light manufacturing as models for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of health care. Information on the report can be found at the Web site of each hospital.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

Hospital links:

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital
Central Vermont Medical Center
Fletcher Allen Health Care
Grace Cottage Hospital
North Country Hospital
Northwestern Medical Center
Rutland Regional Medical Center
Springfield Hospital
Veterans Administration Center
Retreat Health Care
Copley Hospital
Gifford Medical Center
Mount Ascutney Hospital and Health Center
Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital
Porter Medical Center
Southwestern Vermont Health Care

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