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Medicare awards Southwest Memorial three-star rating

Analysis finds hospital in line with most national averages
Kelly Brimhall studies blood samples through a microscope at Southwest Memorial Hospital in 2013.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicade Services recently awarded Southwest Memorial Hospital a three-star rating.

The ratings are part of CMS’s Hospital Compare rating, which assessed more than 4,000 hospitals across the country from one to five stars based on metrics such as timeliness of care, patient experience and mortality.

Southwest Memorial was above the national average in timeliness of care, and was same as the national average in effectiveness of care, patient experience, readmission, mortality and efficient use of medical imaging, according to CMS. There was not enough data reported to assess the hospital in safety of care, another metric used to determine the ratings.

In a statement, Southwest Health System CEO Kent Rogers said hospital staff members are examining the rating.

“There are many quality indicators published, and we take all measures of quality very seriously,” he said. “We use all of these indicators to continuously make improvements in patient care.”

As a critical access hospital, in many cases Southwest Memorial makes sure patients are stable and then transfers them to another hospital, said SHS Marketing Director Haley Leonard. Most heart attack and stroke patients are transferred out, she said. There was no data in certain areas of the analysis because Southwest Memorial doesn’t handle certain patients as a critical access hospital, Leonard said.

Hospital personnel are looking at the data to see what they can improve, Leonard said.

“The thing we’re paying most attention to is patient satisfaction,” she said. “It’s an exercise in quality improvement.”

There are 28 critical access hospitals in Colorado, and only six were rated in the assessment. Out of those, only Aspen Valley Hospital scored higher than Southwest Memorial.

If people have the option to choose a hospital, they should look at multiple sets of data and determine what is right for them and their families, Leonard said.

“Everyone is different,” she said.

Hospital personnel want to be transparent and hope to continue hearing feedback from patients, Leonard said. She encouraged people to reach out to the hospital and voice any comments or concerns.

The hospital staff will work internally to improve, she said.

“Our job is to do our best for our patients,” Leonard said. “All we can do is get better.”

Area hospital ratings

Chinle Comprehensive Health Care Facility, Chinle, Arizona, 2 stars

Cibola General Hospital, Grants, New Mexico: 3 stars

Community Hospital, Grand Junction, 3 stars

Delta County Memorial Hospital, Delta: 3 stars

Gallup Indian Medical Center, Gallup, New Mexico: 2 stars

Lovelace Medical Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico: 3 stars

Mercy Regional Medical Center, Durango: 5 stars

Montrose Memorial Hospital, Montrose: 4 stars

Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock, New Mexico: 2 stars

San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington, New Mexico: 2 stars

San Luis Valley Health, Alamosa: 3 stars

Southwest Memorial Hospital, Cortez: 3 stars

St. Marys Medical Center, Grand Junction: 3 stars

University of Colorado Hospital Authority, Aurora: 2 stars

University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque, New Mexico: 1 star

Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid

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