Lake Shore Receives the Only 4-Star Rating in WNY
IRVING – On April 16, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced their new star ratings system and scores on Hospital Compare, the agency’s public information website. The system scores hospital on a scale of one (the lowest) to five (the highest) stars by taking into considerations a variety of quality and patient satisfactions data.
While no hospital in Western New York received a five-star rating, a feat only 7 percent of the hospitals across the nation were able to accomplish, Lake Shore Health Care Center received the area’s only 4-star rating. The Irving, NY hospital, part of TLC Health Network received the high marks despite its recent separation from its parent company and financial troubles.
“We are, of course, very proud of our record of delivering exceptional quality and patient satisfaction at TLC Health Network,” says Scott Butler, Vice President of Strategy & Market Development. “Quality and satisfaction are two things we have always taken very seriously here and work on constantly to improve. We have said all along that we are not going to allow our focus in those areas slip just because we are recovering from bankruptcy. In fact, if anything, I can say that our efforts have redoubled, as it is clear to us as a small, rural hospital that we have to attempt to satisfy every single patient that comes through our doors if we want to achieve long-term success. Fortunately, we have a great team in place working toward that goal every day.”
The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at almost 3,500 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals. The ratings are based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) measures that are included in Hospital Compare. HCAHPS has been in use since 2006 to measure patients’ perspectives of hospital care, and includes topics such as:
- How well nurses and doctors communicated with patients
- How responsive hospital staff were to patient needs
- How clean and quiet hospital environments were
- How well patients were prepared for post-hospital settings
Evaluating hospitals is becoming increasingly important as more insurance plans offer patients limited choices. However, many in the hospital industry fear Medicare’s five-star scale won’t accurately reflect quality and may place too much weight on patient reviews, which are just one measurement of hospital quality.
“It’s true that the Hospital Compare ratings are not the most ideal way of evaluating the quality of a hospital,” states Butler. “While I am encouraged by the thought that people will see our latest 4-star ranking and be prompted to test out our services as they need them, there was really no reason for people not to trust their care to us already. We have very loyal patients who have been using our services for decades that would be quick to tell you how much they love the care they get here and how they would never choose to go anywhere else. That means much more to us than any star rating and it should to the community as well.”