In a USA TODAY article on health care, Janice Lloyd reviews a new report from Healthgrades stating that Arizona, California, Illinois and Ohio scored the highest marks for treating patients in four key health areas. Healthgrades is a for-profit organization reviewing doctors and hospitals. The report also states that quality varies “significantly” from state to state.
The four health care areas examined in the report were coronary artery bypass graft, heart attack, pneumonia, and sepsis which together account for over 50% of hospital-related deaths in the US. The scores are based on data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Hospitals in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Nevada, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., got the lowest grades, although the report states this is not an indication that all hospitals in an area are below average. There can be large differences between local hospitals.
“People need to know how to make informed decisions,” says Roger Holstein, Healthgrades CEO. “This is the first time we’ve been able to show linkage between a doctor and hospital. It’s particularly important if you’re going to have a surgery. A person can make the best choice by discussing options with his doctor.”
Now, let’s be realistic. There are so many pundits and politicians stating that health care costs can be lowered if consumers are informed and can make “informed decisions.” You are in your doctor’s office and you are told you need surgery. Do you think a large percentage of people would say, “I hear you, but I want to do some research to determine if you are a good physician and if the hospital is a good hospital.” It seems to me the relationship between physician and patient declines when a patient questions the physician’s ability or wants to see a report card.
How do you think people should respond to help them make ‘informed decisions?”
Jerry Lovrien has held positions of Chief Executive Officer at health and behavioral health facilities in Minnesota and Washington State. He served successfully as State Director/Commissioner of Health and Behavioral Health in Georgia, West Virginia and Minnesota. Jerry has taught high school through graduate courses and is currently an Instructor with Minnesota School of Business.