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Phoebe worse than average on bloodstream infections

BY THE NUMBERS

Data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that at least seven hospitals in Georgia ranked worse than the national benchmark for central line-associated bloodstream infections. The hospitals and their scores are below:

Northside Hospital, Atlanta: 1.03

University Hospital, Augusta: 1.05

Henry Medical Center Inc., Stockbridge: 1.19

Emory Midtown, Atlanta: 1.24

Southern Regional Medical Center, Riverdale: 1.32

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital: 1.37

Southeast Georgia Health System-Brunswick: 2.01

ALBANY, Ga. -- Several hospitals in Georgia have scored worse than the national benchmark for cases of potentially deadly bloodstream infections.

One of them was Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.

The findings were made public by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its Hospital Compare website, which allows people to view individual hospital profiles.

Included on Phoebe's profile, under the "Patient Safety Measures" tab, the Albany not-for-profit was considered to be worse than the national benchmark in terms of central line-associated bloodstream infections.

On an attached graph, Phoebe's standard infection ratio was shown to be 1.37, while the Georgia ratio was .55. The national benchmark is 1.

This calculation compares the number of central line infections in a hospital's intensive care unit to a national benchmark based on data reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network. The results are adjusted based on certain factors, such as the type and size of a hospital or ICU.

Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe, said Tuesday roughly a third of Georgia's hospitals have enough data to report a number through this system. Some are not participating, or have a total number of cases that is too low to be meaningful.

He also went on to say that Phoebe is supportive of transparency and reporting outcomes, and is actively involved in improving on operations within the hospital.

"This gives us a way to see that better outcomes are possible, but also allows us to migrate to best practices," Patten said. "(The data) comes from a very narrow window, from the first quarter of 2011. At best, this is a snapshot. It won't be until we have months of data until we see (what needs improvement and what is working well).

"We will continue to work on it. We are not going to spend time arguing on the validity of the data."

Patten went on to say that many such reports, including this one, show favorable results in areas where Phoebe officials actually thought more improvement was needed.

"We take (these results) seriously, and we've known we've had the opportunity to improve," he said. "Over time, we believe people will see these numbers decline.

"We weren't waiting for this report to see whether we needed changes."

A score of zero is considered the best. A score of less than "1" means the hospital had fewer such infections than hospitals of a similar size. A score of "1" means the hospital's score was no different than hospitals of similar type and size, and a score of more than "1" means the hospital had more infections than hospitals of similar type and size.

A central line is a narrow tube inserted by a doctor into a large vein of a patient's neck or chest to give important medical treatment. When not put in correctly or kept clean, central lines can become an easy way for germs to enter the body and cause serious infections in the blood.

These infections are considered to be central line-associated bloodstream infections, and can be deadly. They are thought to be most preventable when health care providers use infection control steps recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Comments

sue 2 years, 2 months ago

not at all surprised at this. I have personally seen their total lack of sterile technique in all aspects of their service and know people they have infected with MRSA. This is what happens when a 'non-profit' is more about the $$ they take in than about caring for people. Wernick's is happy, his pockets are lined and all others be damned.

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gotanyfacts 2 years, 2 months ago

Is the lack of sterile technique due to lack of protocol, poor supervision to see that protocol is followed, or poorly trained personnel?

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justme 2 years, 2 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years, 2 months ago

So, if I understand the data (and, maybe I don't) you are almost 3 times (1.37 - .55) more likely to contract a DEADLY bloodstream infection at Phoebe than at the average Georgia hospital. Now, that's real comforting now that we don't have a choice in hospitals. "Phoebe is supportive of transparency..." Now there's a good one, for sure! Dr. Patten, you don't really believe that yourself, much less expect us to. And, sue, you are absolutely correct about the 1.3 million dollar man!

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Royalstar 2 years, 2 months ago

Not surprised. If there was a report about misdiagnosis and poor service Phoebe would be at the bottom also. You can't talke to a doctor you have to talk to an incompetent hospitalist. A dumb idea that has been discontinued in hospitals around the Atlanta area.

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

This is why I refuse to have surgery there. I go out of town for any surgery, plus it is much cheaper.

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agirl_25 2 years, 2 months ago

And that is why, since 1990, I have had 12 major surgeries at Palmyra and not Phoebe. I went in with the problem at hand and came out with no complications. Thank you Palmyra, to the wonderful nurses and suppport staff and the fantastic doctors.

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southwestga 2 years, 2 months ago

Certainly Phoebe needs to improve. But how about a proper article, giving good and bad results of all the hospitals in say a 100 mile radius?

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angrypatient 2 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, you cannot always refuse a surgery if it is a medical emergency, for example I had to have a c-section at Phoebe and suffered a complication as a result of their dirty operating room, I had a wound that was over 5 inches long! Please read my story and sign a petition. Together we can beat this beast. http://www.change.org/petitions/phoebe-putney-memorial-hospital-in-albany-georgia-stop-unsanitary-medical-practices?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=autopublish

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

I signed your petition because I agree with your statement (didn't think about emergency surgery) because it could happen to anyone at anytime. I hope you recover from the infection.

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Shinedownfan 2 years, 2 months ago

Hey, angrypatient, you shouldn't have chosen that as your User Name, cause once you comment, you can't stop and become one of us. :)

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agirl_25 2 years, 2 months ago

The National Healthcare Safety Network is managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Get in touch with them. I am sure they can provide you with a list. Just tell them you want the list of the hospitals in the South Georgia area scoring worse than the national benchmark for cases of potentially deadly bloodstream infections. Or you can call the CDC at the toll free number......800-232-4636

I like to email myself but have been known to use the toll free numbers..

here is the email for the CDC in Atlanta.......nhsn@cdc.gov

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

100-mile radius = Phoebe footprint. Why does Phoebe think they have to advertise on TV in Albany? There is no competition. I guess it's just "PR" trying to change their image in people's minds.

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angrypatient 2 years, 2 months ago

I have suffered so much as a result of Phoebe's dirty operating room, please sign my petition. "Never doubt that a small group of individuals can change the world"!! http://www.change.org/petitions/phoebe-putney-memorial-hospital-in-albany-georgia-stop-unsanitary-medical-practices?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=autopublish

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angrypatient 2 years, 2 months ago

In their advertisement it says "we will take anyone regardless of race and income", yet they make thousand of dollars on us! I keep getting bills from them...I can't believe the article is calling Phoebe a "non-profit", a non-profit, really???? A mega profit-seekng corporation!

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

Have you talked to any attorneys about your situation?

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KaosinAlbany 2 years, 2 months ago

If not contact Tommy Malone in Atlanta, GA. He's good!

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gotanyfacts 2 years, 2 months ago

Just make it plain to the lawyers up front that you don't want to be billed for any work they do! Sheeez!

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Jacob 2 years, 2 months ago

If you went there and they provided you a service, what do you expect? Of course they send you bills. Non profit does not equate to free health care. You need to get unangry and learn to treat your illnesses at home if you don't want to get billed.

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southwestga 2 years, 2 months ago

Ok, google 'hospital compare' and look at the hospitals you're interested in. I looked at several - Phoebe's numbers don't look good compared to other hospitals on many of the measurements. Maybe The Herald could reportvon this properly.

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whattheheck 2 years, 2 months ago

While the number of infections is alarming, I am much more concerned with how many with such infections picked up in the hospital die as a result. I would also like to know how many cases of the more deadly VRE have been involved in both Phoebe and the former Palmyra--years ago both facilities had problems with it and patients with VRE generally died after long stays in the facility.

During a recent trip at the old Palmyra, a family member's gurney wheeled into and out of the OR for a procedure had the prior patients blood on one of the rails, obviously unnoticed by the staff until pointed out to them.

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Cartman 2 years, 2 months ago

"Phoebe is supportive of transparency..." LOL. Someone needs to tell Wernick.

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dingleberry 2 years, 2 months ago

Isn't that about the same thing Obama says?

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Trustbuster 2 years, 2 months ago

Six years ago my wife had to be treated at Phoebe Worth's emergency room for heart trouble. I noticed that the emergency room's floor was not clean and had blood from a previous patient visit. How unsanitary could you be! Two months after the emergency room visit the hospital billed us for the difference not paid by our insurance company. It was over $1200.00. I immediately contacted the Phoebe business office and told them how unsanitary the emergency room was that night. After arguing with the business manager she decided to lower the bill to $600.00. I told my wife never to take me to Phoebe Worth again. I will take my chances travelling to Tift Regional or the Cordele Hospital.
I can tell Phoebe has a big heart!

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tocar 2 years, 2 months ago

Have you seen the dirty water in the mop buckets? The water is not changed from room to room so who knows what is carried from room to room! The floors are standing in water after the floors are supposedly mopped.

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Cartman 2 years, 2 months ago

Someone needs to sell Med-alert bracelets that read "Do Not Take to Phoebe".

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olddog123 2 years, 2 months ago

I first agree that changes need to be made if they have not already been implemented, however after checking the same site that Albany Herald so aptly puts as Worst than Average it should be noted that the other major players in Healthcare for Southwest Georgia including Tift Regional, Colquitt, Archibold, Crisp did not report in this category because according to the website, the number of cases was too small to accuratley tell how well the hospital is performing. In which case that means that these hospitals could be better or worse than the national average but we wont know. Also it should be noted that for just about every other benchmarch Phoebe matches up well with other facilities. I have no issue playing the blame game but man at least pass blame evenly and get a clear picture. Oh to all those that cry about going to outside this region it interesting to note that some areas have facilities worst than Phoebe and even the grand Emory has a partner with a score similar to Phoebe makes you kind of wonder huh.

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southwestga 2 years, 2 months ago

Look at all the measures. Most I looked at put Tift, for example, clearly ahead.

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justme 2 years, 2 months ago

Just wondering if the new publisher is as afraid of Pheobe et al as the chumps running the paper are.

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olddog123 2 years, 2 months ago

True but Tift measure fall short compared to those around Macon but does that mean we should tar and feather Tift Regional and go running to other hospitals, I and most of my family have had treatment at several hospitals in south georgia and all have treated us with the respect and diginity we deserve. Numbers don't lie but it is interesting to note that on Medicare's website they have Tift Regional rated higher for Hip and Knee injuries and Spinal Treatment than Archibold when Archibold just recieved state wide recognition for being number one in such procedures and Tift Regional wasn't even rated. Again in you really feel that because one facility got a 78 and another got and 82 that this is life threating then dont go but when one faciltity gets rated low and the other just doesnt report because their just is not enough data then who is to say what really goes on?

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angrypatient 2 years, 2 months ago

People, please keep signing the petition, if we get enough people to sign it, we can change the way things are! We deserve to have clean operating rooms and good doctors. Jacob, I hope you never EVER end up with the kind of wound that Phoebe gave me and the bills that I get. I can't believe you call it a "service"? Are you telling me they did me a service by infecting my healthy body? Only those of us who go through this know the suffering and tears that Phoebe has caused us. I was deprived of the valuable time with my little baby going back and back to the doctors to treat the infection. It has been 4 months since the baby was born and I am still suffering from this wound. I have several neighbors who go outside of town to get surgery because people in the area who had surgeries at Phoebe end up with staff infections. WE DESERVE CLEAN hospitals especially since we have no where else to go! Phoebe bought almost everything in this area...When you run a hospital like a business this is what you end up with. No care for your patients just profit-seeking... It is sad really. Thanks to Albany Herald for exposing the truth!

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olddog123 2 years, 2 months ago

angrypatient I admire your concern however its a little shallow to only sign a petition agaisnt Phoebe when you are constantly mentioning hospitals meaning those not owned or operated by Phoebe. There are 40 hospitals within a 100 mile radius of Albany according to Medicare Medicade website and Phoebe only controls 6 of them. Yes it is terrible said that this happened to you and I wish you the best and speedy recovery but really what will a petition do? No a better solution would be to contact your congressman or better yet go directly to the offices of Medicare and Medicaid and hurt them were it really hurts, the wallet. Sometime anger and the drive for what believes is justice can do great things and make the unthinkable a real but only if those energies are used and channeled properly. No matter where you go you will not find the perfect hospital that does 0 harm, even Emory has cases where surgical instruments were left inside the patients, as a matter of fact one of Emory's own facilities is listed in this article but are you willing to sign a petiton for them too? Not many know but both Hospitals here in Albany had higher rates of certain types of inpatient infections when compared to other's through out the country. Despite all of this I wish you luck on your petiton

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angrypatient 2 years, 1 month ago

olddog123, thanks for your opinion but I disagree a petition can change many things if signed by enough people, look at previous petitions such as the one to bank of America it made National News and Bank of America abolished its fees that it was trying to impose on its customers, the other banks like Regions followed the link and abolished their check card fees! If enough people in the are suffer from the actions of the hospital, then there is something wrong. Please help support the petition. You can sign it privately if afraid.

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olddog123 2 years, 1 month ago

Yes you are right Bank of America did drop a fee but kept in place others as well and found another way to pass to expenses to its customers. You only decieve yourself if you really think Bank of America " took a true hit " on fees and you won the war on fees. But besides that point why would I be afraid to sign a petition, yes I work their but I am also their helping to improve the very thing you want to change. But again you still miss the point you again focus on one hospital, so what happens if you go to Tift Regional and have complications, are they okay because they did not get reported in this article? I am not saying don't have a petition but if you are going to wipe out or try to improve an issue dear to you and others health don't you think it should start at the top for all hospitals? I understand you pain but I really think that you have got tunnel vision and narrowed yourself down to attacking a branch when their is a whole orchard needing triming.

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Mr_Heatmiser 2 years, 1 month ago

The staph bacteria lives on the skin, on everybody, all the time. You can get an MRSA infection from tweezing a nose hair or popping a pimple. All it takes is the right strain of the bacteria at the wrong place & at the wrong time.

I guarantee you that the floors in the OR at Phoebe are more sterile than your fingernails are.

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angrypatient 2 years, 1 month ago

@ Mr_Heatmiser: AT THE WRONG PLACE... EXACTLY! I hope you never end up at Phoebe's OR and go what I am going through. If you ever do, you will know what is like to trust your doctor and your community hospital and end up with a giant wound. The vet did a better job on my cat than Dr. Graff and Phoebe on a human being.

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