Letters to the Editor

Hospital ratings show deficiencies

I am writing to thank the Bradenton Herald for providing a proper forum for Dr. Linda Christmann to illuminate for we the public the meaning of recently released scores by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for hospitals in our area.

The scores range from 5 for excellence to 1 for poor. CMS reviewed and evaluated the three hospitals in Manatee County, all of which are for-profit.

CMS uses patient care and satisfaction, complications, infection and readmission rates, including deaths among the constellation of issues used to determine scores. Manatee Memorial and Blake received a score of 2, and the only 5-star hospital in the area, Sarasota Memorial, is a not-for-profit hospital.

Perhaps it should not be surprising that for-profits have a pattern of behavior which shows a disregard for obtaining better scores; for-profit entities emphasize cost centers competing for money and savings.

The good doctor Dr. Richard Conard wrote in detail to the Herald regarding this same issue — the Manatee Memorial Hospital’s refusal to be forthright on resolving health and public safety violations. One should not forget these scores are a litmus test for how a hospital operates and its priorities.

Dr. Conard suggested the county weave into any contracts with the hospitals certain provisions, which Drs. Christmann and Conard have or will bring to the attention of the commissioners and we the public to protect our health and safety.

Leon O'Connor MPH