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NICHE has learned that Dupont Hospital will soon be only average, not a four-star hospital. Dupont will be reduced it to three stars on the Federal Medicare-Compare ratings service that collects data, inspects hospitals, and aggregates the data to rate and compare hospitals. (Learn more here: https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompa…/…/Hospital-Info.html)

A lowered patient experience rating seems to be what will drop Dupont from its relatively elite position, a status uncommon within the Community Health Services network. The overall rating summarizes up to 57 quality measures (see https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcomp…/…/Measure-groups.html) reflecting common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks and pneumonia. Hospitals may perform more complex services or procedures not reflected in the measures on Hospital Compare. The overall rating shows how well each hospital performed, on average, compared to other hospitals in the U.S.

The overall rating ranges from one to five stars (see https://www.medicare.gov/…/Hospital-overall-ratings-calcula…). The more stars, the better a hospital performed on the available quality measures. The most common overall rating is three stars, earned by the 40 percent of hospitals “in the middle”; the highest, 5 stars, represents less than 2 percent of all U.S. hospitals. Dupont’s current rating of four stars is better than 70% of measured U.S. hospitals.

“The Dupont Difference” is real. It has relied on adequate numbers of nurses and other personnel to provide a reliably “better than expected” hospital experience–year in and year out since its inception. NICHE’s discussions with nurses and physicians indicate that the difference is the CHS’s cost-cutting management style. We understand the need for efficiency and lower healthcare costs. We also understand “for profit, not for you.” Remarks from financial analysts about CHS seem to indicate that corporate debt and mandated cost cutting has, according to Medicare.com, cut into quality of care–and now demonstrably at Dupont Hospital.

When will CHS CEO Mr. Wayne Smith focus on “patient experience and physician relations,” as promised earlier this year? We ask Mr. Mike Poore to fix this decline in quality, using the “traction” he is gaining and the “authority to fix things that need attention” that he has been given as CEO of all of LHN. NICHE looks forward to partnering with Mr. Poore in this effort.