Cartersville Medical Center and Gordon Hospital made the top 20 in the small hospital category, and Polk Medical Center took second place as a critical access hospital for rural communities.
“People think you have to go to Atlanta to get good health care when the truth is, the best health care is in Northwest Georgia,” said RRMC CEO John Quinlivan.
Georgia Trend worked with researchers and health care professionals at WellStar Health System in Marietta to rank 72 hospitals based on information from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and other sources.
The CMS report at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov is a tool that evaluates hospitals in categories ranging from patient satisfaction to the rate of readmissions, complications and deaths.
The Leapfrog Group, an industry initiative launched in June with input from experts such as the American Hospital Association, also offers ratings on various facilities. “Consumers are becoming more and more savvy,” said Redmond spokeswoman Andrea Pitts. “They’re using these online resources, shopping around.”
Hospital safety scores
Redmond netted a B rating for safety from The Leapfrog Group. The survey, called the Hospital Safety Score, looks at preventable medical errors, injuries and accidents.
Quinlivan said the hospital was downgraded because it doesn’t yet have a computerized order entry system that provides centralized electronic patient health records.
The federal government, however, has set up incentives for facilities that install the new technology and both Redmond and Floyd Medical Center will be rolling it out next year.
“It’s a huge undertaking, a huge challenge,” Quinlivan said.
“But everything will be immediately accessible, legible, time-stamped. It will eliminate a lot of mistakes from the paper-based system.”
FMC also was awarded a B rating, while Gordon Hospital in Calhoun and Cartersville Medical Center received As from The Leapfrog Group. The organization looks only at acute care hospitals, so Polk Medical Center is not included.
Cartersville CEO Keith Sandlin noted that the hospital also received an A in its first rating in June.
“Our team of physicians and health care professionals has developed a patients-first culture and safety is certainly one of our top priorities,” he said in a statement announcing the rating.
Of the 75 Georgia hospitals rated by The Leapfrog Group, 11 received As, 27 received Bs, 32 received Cs, four received Ds, and an F went to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital in Albany.
Hospital care ratings
The CMS rated care at or above the national average for heart attack, pneumonia and surgery patients at Redmond, FMC, Cartersville and Gordon hospitals in an October survey. Polk scored above the average for pneumonia care. Heart attack and surgery care there was not rated.
The four larger facilities scored no different than the national average in the category of readmissions, complications or deaths within 30 days of discharge — although a few issues were reported.
Cartersville had a slightly higher rate of infections from urinary catheters, at 0.621 per 1,000 patients compared to 0.358 per 1,000 nationally.
FMC recorded 1.091 falls and injuries per 1,000 patients compared to 0.527 nationally.
Redmond was listed as worse than the national average regarding deaths of patients with serious, treatable complications after surgery.
However, the CMS report notes that the survey doesn’t take into account the kinds of patients different facilities treat or their conditions when they enter the hospital.