WHAG NEWS - Medicare's Quality of Care initiative is only two years old, but already hospitals are rapidly working to raise their standards.
"If you can decrease the number of complications, falls, that kind of thing - if you can decrease the number of readmissions, then they pay you more. Conversely, if you have a poorer record than other hospitals, they penalize you,” said Manuel Casiano, Chief Medical Officer of
Hospitals are rated based on a number of quality care indicators, including hand sanitation, patient satisfaction, average time spent in the emergency room and whether or not a heart failure patient received instructions upon being discharged.
"We saw this coming for years,” said Casiano. “We've been working on this for about six years now pretty intensively, across the whole hospital, on all sorts of things: reducing falls, hand washing, decreasing complications, and decreasing infection."
So how is the four-state area comparing to the national average? It’s pretty well, with most local hospitals faring above the national and state averages in the majority of core measures.
Hospitals are rated on a number of quality indicators, with new ones added every year. In 2014, they are going to be taking a closer look at mortality rates.
Casiano said, "In other words, did you survive your hospital visit? Right now our mortality is some of the best in the country. Statistically, if you come in, you are much less likely to die while in Frederick Memorial than 90 percent of the other hospitals around the country."
Some believe death is an unfair indicator, as many of the larger, busier hospitals receive the sickest patients. But overall, hospitals in the four-state area are working together to spread the wealth of information.
“It's to some extent a competition, but we'd all like to be better. So there's a lot of collaboration in the health care industry,” said Casiano.