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Warren hospital among bottom in controversial Star Ratings

Warren hospital among bottom in controversial Star Ratings

WARREN — Trumbull Regional Medical Center is one of the four lowest-ranked hospitals in the state, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services annual Hospital Compare Star Ratings. It received one out of a possible five stars.

The other lowest-rated hospitals in the state are Clinton Memorial Hospital, Wilmington; East Ohio Regional Hospital, Martins Ferry; and the University of Toledo Medical Center.

The American Hospital Association is among medical organizations that have questioned the validity of the government’s national rating system. And Steward Health Care System Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Weinstein contended that the ratings do not reflect where Trumbull Regional is now.

“We obviously were disappointed when we saw the score,” Weinstein said. “It’s certainly a sobering opportunity for all of us who are focused on patient care. We are doing some things well and are confident that the improvements we made will make a difference in the next five-star ratings.”

CMS acknowledged but did not answer a request for specifics on why Trumbull Regional rated so low. The hospital was rated at two stars in 2019.

Mercy Health hospitals St. Elizabeth Youngstown, St. Elizabeth Boardman and St. Joseph Warren all rated three stars out of five.

On its website, CMS states, “In an emergency, you should go to the nearest hospital. When you are able to plan ahead, the Hospital Compare overall hospital rating can provide a starting point for comparing a hospital to others locally and nationwide.

“Along with the overall hospital rating, Hospital Compare includes information on many important aspects of quality, such as rates of infection and complications and patients’ experiences, based on survey results. … You should consider a variety of factors when choosing a hospital, such as physician guidance about your care plan and other sources of information about hospitals in your area.”

Tom Nickels, American Hospital Association executive vice president, said: “AHA is disappointed that CMS continues to publish hospital star ratings that are plagued by longstanding concerns about accuracy and meaningfulness.

“While we appreciate that CMS is working on potential improvements to the star rating methodology for 2021, we strongly believe that today’s re-publication of the flawed and misleading ratings do not advance the goal of providing the public with accurate, purposeful information about quality of care.”

Jonathon Fauvie, public relations and communications manager for Mercy Health-Great Lakes Group, said the CMS scores do not compare “apples to apples” because there is such a variety of care centers.

” There are many factors that CMS considers when determining a star rating, some of which don’t apply to all health systems or organizations,” he said.

“Mercy Health has focused heavily on social determinants of health, which include risk factors outside of one’s physical wellness and considers income, education and environmental risks. All quality metrics used by organizations such as CMS are factored into the continuous quality review that Mercy Health employs to assure the highest quality of care is being delivered every day,” Fauvie said.

Others have applauded the system as a beneficial way for patients to make sure they are finding hospitals with the best care.

SCORING

The American Hospital Directory uses a system called Total Performance Score, which in November ranked Trumbull Regional with one out of five stars, St. Elizabeth Youngstown two stars, and St. Joseph and Boardman three stars. The CMS scores were issued on Jan. 29.

The CMS scores cover seven factors. Four of them each account for 22 percent, a combined 88 percent, of the total score: mortality (people who died while patients); safety of care (did people acquire any infectious diseases while patients, or did they fall or were otherwise injured?); readmission (patients readmitted within 30 days of release); and patient experience (patient survey forms).

The other three factors account for 4 percent each, or a combined 12 percent of the total score: effectiveness of care; timeliness of care; and efficient use of medical imaging.

Weinstein noted that the rating period covers four years, January 2015 through December 2018. Steward Healthcare bought the former Trumbull Memorial Hospital in 2017. Since it made the acquisition, Steward has made a number of improvements to Trumbull Regional, he said.

“We hired a new intensive care group in 2018, Eastern Ohio Pulmonary Consultants, consisting of five board-certified pulmonary and critical care specialists. We hired a new infectious diseases doctor, Munir Shah, M.D., to oversee the Infectious Disease Program. And in 2017, we hired a new chief medical officer, board-certified internal medicine physician Justin Mikula, M.D.

“We have educated every employee on CARES — compassion, accountability, respect, excellence and stewardship — to deliver an excellent experience to all our patients every time.”

Recent achievements for the hospital include that it is the Mahoning Valley’s only accredited chest pain center; the only hospital in the Valley to hold the Joint Commission’s advanced certification for the inpatient diabetes program; was the first hospital in Ohio to earn advanced certification by the Joint Commission for hip and knee replacements; is the only area hospital to be recognized as a Center of Distinction and Center of Excellence by Healogics Inc. for its Wound Healing Center; and the Cardiac Rehab Program’s standard of care is nationally recognized by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Weinstein said.

“I think there’s tremendous reason for people to use Trumbull Regional Medical Center for their care,” Weinstein said.

bcole@tribtoday.com

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