Letters to the Editor

Are there safety issues at Manatee Memorial Hospital?

A nationally acknowledged safety rating agency releases hospital safety scores for all hospitals. The rating is A-F. Manatee Memorial, in the last safety score I could find, was rated "C."

For some reason MMH has apparently refused to be rated at this time. Patient safety ratings show you how well a hospital safeguards patients from serious, potentially preventable complications during their hospital stay.

This matters because when you seek treatment at a hospital for a given medical problem, you don't want to experience an additional injury, infection, or serious condition during your stay.

It is advised by many that one should look for hospitals that are rated "Better than Average" for safety, to reduce your risk of experiencing one of these events.

For the year starting October 2014 to September 2015, MMH is being penalized by Medicare for medical errors. Penalties are only imposed on those hospitals with high rates of potentially avoidable mistakes that can harm patients. These are known as "hospital-acquired conditions" (HAC's).

Medicare evaluated three types of HAC's:

1. Central-line associated bloodstream infections. An example would be an intravenous fluid line.

2. Catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

3. Serious complications based on eight types of injuries, including blood clots, bed sores, and falls.

It is recognized that when a facility emphasizes volume of care over quality of care, more HAC's occur and important safety issues are often overlooked. There are indications that quality of care is erratic at MMH.

County Administrator Ed Hunzeker has proposed in this upcoming budget to set aside funding for indigent care. Before any funds are allocated for expenditure to MMH, a very close, objective, outside third-party safety analysis must be done to assure "we the people" that our BOCC and administration are making wise healthcare financial decisions that are in our best interest and safety.

Richard T. Conard, MD