Manatee, Blake underwhelm in national hospital survey

Two of Manatee County’s three hospitals performed poorly in the federal government’s first ever overall hospital quality survey.

Manatee Memorial Hospital and Blake Medical Center each received two stars on a one-to-five-star scale in the just-released Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services survey, which rated 3,617 hospitals across the nation.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center was awarded three stars in the survey, which the federal government compiled by using data it got by interviewing Medicare and Medicaid patients after they had hospital visits.

The government asked the patients such questions as how quickly and appropriately care was given for heart attacks, and how proactive hospitals were in following up on tests they got that showed problems needing to be addressed.

Other questions were about things like whether their doctors and nurses kept them informed and how quiet and clean their room was.

The government also asked patients if they had complications after surgery at the hospital and if they got an infection in the hospital.

The survey asked patients if they thought more than one X-ray or scan was done when one was enough and whether an imaging procedure should have been done at all.

The star-ranking came after the government ran the data, which included care delivery, complications, re-admissions and deaths, use of medical imaging and cost and value of care, all through a complex scoring system.

Officials at Blake and the Manatee Memorial Health Care System, which includes Manatee Memorial and Lakewood Ranch, were asked to comment on the results of the survey.

“We recognize that patients look at many factors when making health care decisions,” said Melissa Morgan, a Blake Medical Center spokeswoman. “Blake Medical Center has consistently expanded its services to ensure our community has access to the health care services they need. From trauma and burn care to complex hand repair to graduate medical education to complex cardiovascular services, we remain committed to providing our patients with the highest quality of care.”

Chief Executive Officer Kevin DiLallo of Manatee Memorial Health Care System did not return calls for comment Monday.

Sarasota hospitals generally outperformed Manatee’s with Sarasota Memorial getting five stars, one of only 192 hospitals in the nation to receive the top grade.

Englewood Community Hospital received four stars, and both Doctor’s Hospital and Venice Regional Bayfront got three stars.

Details of how all the Manatee and Sarasota hospitals fared can be found at https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html.

On Monday Manatee County commissioner Carol Whitmore, who visits all the Manatee hospitals as a home healthcare nurse, said she strongly believes all of Manatee’s hospitals provide excellent care.

“I really don’t know what these scores are based on, because I would totally not have one second thought about going to any of our hospitals to be treated and I have in the past,” Whitmore said. “My husband and I are a doctor and nurse team and we have no qualms about recommending any of the three hospitals.”

The government, in fact, asked patients if they would definitely recommend the hospital to someone else.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center did the best in Manatee County with 71 percent of patients saying they would recommend it. Blake Medical was second at 69 percent and Manatee Memorial had 64 percent.

The Florida average for the “recommend” question was 69 percent and the national average is 71 percent, according to the survey.

Getting even a bit more specific, the government asked each patient if they would give their hospital a top score of 9 or a 10 on a scale of 0 to 10 for their overall experience.

Lakewood Ranch led with 68 percent saying “yes,” followed by Blake with 66 percent and Manatee Memorial with 63 percent.

The Florida average for getting 9 or 10 was 68 percent and the national average was 72 percent.

The ability of doctors to communicate well was another survey topic.

Lakewood Ranch again led the way in Manatee, with 78 percent of patients saying their doctors kept them informed. Blake was second with a 76 percent score and Manatee Memorial came in with 74 percent.

The Florida average for communicative doctors was 78 percent and the national average was 82 percent.

Richard Dymond: 941-745-7072, @RichardDymond