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  • Tuesday, August 11, 2009 10:08pm

Recent advertisements from Stevens Hospital note that it received 5-star ratings for the quality associated with three procedures. The ratings were issued by one of many hospital-rating organizations that also provide Web-based tools for consumers to analyze and compare performance.

HealthGrades ( provided the three 5-star ratings, and for this Stevens deserves kudos.

However, the full story of HealthGrades’ review comes from looking at all 28 findings; and then doing a comparison with hospitals found in a 25-mile radius. The findings, for Stevens, include three 1-star (“poor”), and 15 3-star (“expected”) ratings.

Medicare’s “Hospital Compare” survey ( presents a similarly mixed bag of performance results for Stevens. Here, too, a person can compare Stevens’ performance to hospitals in the area. Of note (concern actually) are the patients’ responses to their experience while admitted to Stevens. Only 52 percent of respondents said they would “definitely recommend the hospital.” Most of the other hospitals, within 25 miles, had between two-thirds and three-fourths of respondents recommending their hospital.

I also looked at the results from Consumer Reports ( Similar to the two preceding surveys, Consumer Reports provides much detail regarding its treatment rating process, data used, etc. Such professional rigor gives the public confidence in the results. Again, we find scores ranging from “worse” up to “better.” However, the rating of 50 out of 100 for “Overall Patient Rating” stands out.

You cannot find such data in the monthly minutes from commissioner meetings, or in other hospital information. These outside surveys provide important transparency regarding Stevens’ performance. The data, comparisons and conclusions also help in responding to an online survey found on the Stevens Web site, in preparing to comment at open house meetings, and to determine if the strategic plan is addressing the real problems in performance and finances.

Jim Underhill


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