SC Hospitals Not Meeting Standards

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The Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services revealed a report showing most of the 57 S.C. hospitals were within the wide national averages for the outcomes of their heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia cases. Thank you to The State for publishing these results.

Below Average SC Hospitals

  • Carolina Pines Medical Center, Hartsville, heart failure readmission and pneumonia readmission
  • Piedmont Medical Center, Rock Hill, heart attack mortality, heart failure mortality and pneumonia mortality
  • Self Regional Medical Center, Greenwood, heart failure mortality and pneumonia mortality
  • Trident Medical Center, Charleston, heart failure mortality
  • Aiken Regional Medical Center, heart failure mortality and pneumonia mortality
  • Cannon Memorial Hospital, Pickens, pneumonia mortality
  • Laurens County Health Center, Clinton, pneumonia mortality
  • Williamsburg Regional Hospital, Kingstree, pneumonia mortality

Hospitals Performing better than Average

  • Anmed Health, Anderson, pneumonia mortality and heart attack re-admission
  • Bon Securs-St. Francis, Charleston, pneumonia mortality
  • Providence Hospitals, Columbia, heart attack readmission and heart failure readmission
  • Greenville Memorial Hospital, heart attack readmission and heart failure readmission
  • St. Francis-Greenville Downtown, heart failure readmission
  • Georgetown Memorial Hospital, pneumonia readmission
  • Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, pneumonia readmission

The centers also rated hospitals based on how many heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients were re-admitted within 30 days, and Piedmont was within the national average for those rates. "This should be a big red flag you've got a problem," said Mary Tyrell, a former health care management professor at Lander University. Tyrell said poor performance in one area might be explained, but poor outcomes in three of the six areas measured shows "there are some systemic problems at this facility. It points to management and patient care problems." Piedmont was 14th in the country for deaths by heart attack with a 20.3 percent rating. The national average is 15.9 percent. It was eighth nationally for heart failure with a 16.3 percent rating. The national average was 11 percent. Piedmont's death by pneumonia rate was 15.1 percent while the national average was 11.9 percent. Piedmont's ratings also were No. 1 in the state for heart attacks deaths and heart failure deaths. Piedmont was fourth in the state for pneumonia. Laurens County Healthcare was No. 1 for pneumonia with a score of 17.1 percent.

In a statement released Monday, Dr. Richard Patterson, Piedmont's chief medical officer, wrote the way the data is analyzed is important. The centers report, "any death from any cause, no matter where, within 30 days of hospitalization is counted as a death for the hospital," according to Patterson. He wrote that "nearly 60 percent" of the deaths among Piedmont patients happen after they leave the hospital. The centers' analysis of data is the same for the 4,600 hospitals. The center adjusts death and readmission data so that hospitals can be fairly compared despite differences in size and patient populations. Patterson wrote that a fairer comparison is done by the South Carolina Hospital Association and The hospital association "only counts death while in the hospital, the time when hospital performance has the most direct influence on outcome," Patterson wrote. Tyrell said issues affecting care could be manpower, both nurses and doctors, as well as training. "It's not a simple fix," she said, adding that changes have to come from the bottom up. Lynn Bailey, a health care consultant from Columbia, said the information in the Medicare report released last week "should not be new information to the folks at Piedmont." Bailey said the information in the report is typically used more by hospitals than it is patients. Patients, once they choose a doctor, rarely have multiple options for hospitalization, she said. Bailey said the information is often used by hospital administrators as tool to motivate staff. Bailey said she would be concerned if Piedmont consistently was on the worst list by Medicare.

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