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.”

Correctional Facilities Answer “Teddy Bear 911” Call

Stuffed-Animal-Donation-web-260x152IRVING – A tragic accident on the NYS Thruway earlier this year led to two young children being brought to Lake Shore Health Care Center’s emergency department in a terrified state.  Due to the traumatic nature of the incident, two State troopers on the scene decided to bring teddy bears to the children at the hospital in the hope that it would help take their mind off from what they were going through.  Though those children escaped the accident with only minor physical injuries, they would find out that day that they had lost two of their family members in the crash.

“Seeing the positive effect the bears had on the children, Gawronski decided that the hospital should keep a supply on hand for similar situations in the future like had been done in years past.  She realized that more than 1,000 children come through the Emergency Department at Lake Shore Health Care Center each year.  Whether they are accompanying a loved one or receiving treatment themselves, a trip to the hospital can be a scary situation for many of them.  Having a supply of teddy bears on hand for the ED staff to give to children can make them feel more at ease and distract them from their surroundings.
At first, the idea was start a teddy bear drive for employees of TLC Health Network.  However, when Molly Kennedy, Supervisor of Correctional Facility Volunteer Services for the Western Wende Hub heard about the drives through an employee of TLC she was quick to offer the support of the Collins, Gowanda, and Lakeview correctional facilities.  In a matter of days, the three facilities rallied together and created a program they dubbed as “Teddy Bear 911” to support their local health system.

To maximize efforts, Kennedy pitched the idea of holding simultaneous drives at each of the facilities and making it a “friendly competition” to see who could collect the most small- to medium-sized, new stuffed animals. Monetary donations were also sought.

Together, the three facilities collected 182 stuffed animals and one book. Gowanda’s Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) donated $500 toward the cause, and the two ILC’s representing Collins Side I and Collins Side II contributed a combined total of $300. An additional $25 was collected at Lakeview from individual employees.  Monetary donations are also anticipated from the employee unions and employee committees. TLC plans to use the money to purchase special blankets to keep on hand to give to adolescents and adults as a comfort measure for those age groups as well.

As for the competition, it was an extremely close race, but the Gowanda correctional facility came out on top by a single donation in the end. Gowanda collected 65 stuffed animals, followed by Collins with 64, and Lakeview with 53.  The facilities now hope to make this an annual charitable project.

“Our staff takes great pride in helping out such a worthy cause,” stated Kennedy, “and the inmates feel so rewarded when they are able to contribute and give back to the community.  Many of our employees are local, so we were really happy to support Lake Shore in any way we can.”

During the donation presentation at Lake Shore Health Care Center, it was clear that some members of the TLC’s staff were moved by the support they were receiving from the correctional facilities.  One of the nurses actually had tears in her eyes as she expressed her gratitude to the group.

Echoing the sentiment, Scott Butler, Vice President of Strategy and Market Development added, “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and thoughtfulness of Ms. Kennedy and the Collins, Gowanda, and Lakeview correctional facilities.  Our patients mean the world to us at TLC, and being able to provide added comfort to them through these stuffed animals and blankets is a blessing.  We hope all involved are very proud of what they have done to support our health system and our community.”


Pictured in Photo (from left to right):  John Galati (TLC); Roseanne Mahoney, RN (TLC); David McKnight, RN (TLC); Amanda Gunther (Gowanda); Tom Sticht (Gowanda); Donna Northrup (Lakeview); Molly Kennedy (Collins, Gowanda, Lakeview); Dave Bobseine (Gowanda); Shannon Bobseine (TLC); Taylor Hall (Lakeview); Patti Dole, RN (TLC); Ernie Dole (Collins); Patti Zaccagnino (Collins); Shannon Gawronski, RN (TLC); Tom Flynn (Collins)