Local hospital disputes low survey rating

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Internet sites listed Madison Memorial Hospital among the 25 worst hospitals nationwide at the end of 2012. The information was based on Leapfrog survey results.

Multiple websites suggesting that Madison Memorial Hospital is the seventh worst hospital in the United States may be misleading, hospital officials and others suggest.

Late last year, the Leapfrog Group — an organization based out of Washington D.C. — released a study grading numerous American hospitals including Madison Memorial.

Madison Memorial Hospital received an F-letter grade.

A list of the worst hospitals emerged at the end of 2012 and was reposted on multiple websites such as Facebook and News Health.

The original source is unknown, although the information on the list is based off of the Leapfrog statistics.

Erica Mobley, communications manager for the Leapfrog Group, said that the top 25 lists were not made or supported by the Leapfrog Group.

“We only grade hospitals on an ABCDF grades,” Mobley said. “We think those lists were made by someone who listed the [surveyed] hospitals in alphabetical order.”

Hospital officials said that even the F is misleading.

Mobley said that Madison Memorial had the worst rating in the nation for leaving foreign objects inside patients. She said that patients should not come in just to come out with a worse infection.

“No matter what hospital, no one should be leaving tools in a patient,”
she said.

However, Douglas McBride, Madison Memorial public relations, said that because of the small size of the hospital, one incident can throw off the statistics.

According to the Hospital Safety Score website, where Leapfrog posts their survey results, leaving foreign objects inside patients includes surgical instruments and sponges. The website said this occurrence is rare.

“There were two cases [between 2009-10] that dealt with objects left in patients,” McBride said. “Both were removed before they left the ER room.”

McBride said that Madison Memorial has changed processes in the ER since those two incidences.

“They now count all their tools and instruments before they even stitch up patients,” McBride said.

McBride said that Leapfrog surveys were not fair to the hospital.

“It doesn’t give a good fair assessment of what the hospital’s value is,” McBride said. “It’s a 69-bed hospital. Madison Memorial is basically the only county-owned, non-profit hospital in Idaho. So we are in a much different class than any other hospital here in Idaho.”

McBride said that Madison Memorial was surveyed with metropolitan hospitals that have different problems and issues.

“The purpose behind Leapfrog is actually really, really good,” McBride said. “The problem is in the methodology of how they go and obtain information for their statistics.”

According to a press release by Madison Memorial, the hospital has two concerns about the credibility of Leapfrog.

The first concern is that there is an unfair bias in the way Leapfrog shows favoritism to their own survey.

Madison Memorial could only receive a 15 out of 100 because they opted out of the survey. Mobley said that Leapfrog received their information from the American Hospital Association (AHA), an agency that McBride said is reliable.

“We have a very, very clean slate,” McBride said, as Madison Memorial was accredited by the AHA.

The second concern addressed in the press release is that the measures used by the survey are unreliable because the analysis model places its focus on an urban healthcare structure.

“They try to put hospitals into a cookie-cutter situation,” McBride said.

Because of this survey, there are students who make the decision not go to Madison Memorial for care.

“[When my husband needed care] we decided not to go to Madison, we decided to go down to Idaho Falls … because of the reports we’ve read recently,” said Megan Harpole, a senior studying English.

McBride said that students should absolutely not be discouraged in coming to Madison Memorial for care because of the Leapfrog results.

Mobley also said students shouldn’t stop going to Madison Memorial.

“These grades from the Leapfrog Group are to encourage patients to talk to their doctors, not avoid them,” Mobley said.

She also said that no one should avoid hospital care when it is an emergency.

“Getting care could very well save your life,” Mobley said.

“[Leapfrog] helped us to realize that there are these agencies that are trying to get survey results and we need to be very, very careful,” McBride said. “Just understand [the hospital is] being watched constantly … and so it has helped us to tighten our belts in certain areas.”

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