River Region CEO cites ‘improved’ satisfaction rating in survey

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surveys of patients leaving River Region Medical Center indicate they are satisfied with the care and service, CEO Doug Sills said Tuesday.

“It goes up and down, but our hospital is shootin’ for 100 percent,” Sills told the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club at a weekly meeting. “We’re doing a great job on hearts. If you do a good job on hearts, you can do a good job on appendixes. We’ve got some great surgeons.”

The survey indicates the hospital on U.S. 61 North compares favorably in Mississippi and nationally, he said.

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“Our reputation is improving, and it will continue to improve as long as we provide good, quality care,” Sills said.

Favorable ratings for patients who answered surveys on visits for surgery, heart attacks, pneumonia and heart failure averaged 99.641 percent to start 2011, according to internal numbers Sills presented. The figures are up from 96.5 from the second quarter of 2010, the most recent period for comparisons with other hospitals on standardized surveys reported to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Results on questions about patients’ overall hospital experience rated River Region in the 90th percentile among hospitals in the country in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from the 55th percentile during last year’s first quarter, Sills said. The more recent numbers mean only 10 percent rated higher than River Region and are higher than the 84th percentile registered by St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital and 63rd percentile by Baptist Health Systems, both from first-quarter 2010.

“That’s a huge improvement, and the only one that comes close is St. D,” Sills said.

Publicly reported results from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems are based on four consecutive quarters of patient surveys, generally administered by outside firms. The federal Cabinet department’s Medicare and Medicaid arm receives the surveys and publishes them online. As of July 2010, results were reported by 3,774 hospitals nationwide. Survey return rates can be low. Surveys on hospital experience completed from July 2009 through June 2010 yielded a 21 percent response rate, according to HHS statistics.

Another improving number in the surveys is “top-box” answers on surveys following emergency room visits, Sills said. Patients checked off answers like “very satisfied” and “definitely recommend” the service 63 percent of the time during the fourth quarter last year, up from 55 percent during the previous quarter.

In 2010, the hospital recorded 10,498 inpatient admissions and 33,517 emergency room visits, Sills said. Both totals are off about 2.6 percent from 2009.