Healthgrades rates Phoebe

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital

ALBANY — While the data from www.healthgrades.com look bad, officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital say that they are not what they seem to be.

On www.healthgrades.com, Phoebe ranks “worse” in six of 12 categories under the patient safety indicators tab. The validity of those ratings have been questioned by Phoebe officials.

The hospital ranked “worse” for death in procedures where mortality is usually very low, pressure sores or bed sores acquired in the hospital, death following a serious complication after surgery, excessive bruising or bleeding as a consequence of a procedure or surgery, respiratory failure following surgery and deep blood clots in the lungs or legs following surgery.

Phoebe ranked “average” in collapsed lung due to a procedure or surgery in or around the chest, catheter-related bloodstream infections acquired at the hospital, electrolyte and fluid imbalance following surgery, bloodstream infection following surgery and breakdown of the abdominal incision site.

The area in which Phoebe ranked “best” in was hip fracture following surgery.

Dr. Doug Patten, senior vice president of medical affairs at Phoebe, acknowledged that the numbers do look scary, but he said the data are not what they seem on the surface.

Patten pointed out that there are a few facilities that do not have this tab visible on their pages. He contends this is because these hospitals are clients of Healthgrades and are therefore paying to have that information buried.

“We have chosen not to pay money with Healthgrades to monkey with the numbers or hide anything,” he said. “It is a good business model, but it should not be mistaken for a fair and balanced scorecard.”

Kristin Reed, a spokesperson for Healthgrades, said every hospital that meets the minimum threshold is evaluated by the company’s system, regardless of client status, and that there are some adjustments currently being made to make the profiles look more consistent.

“We are in the process of redesigning our hospital pages so that when we add additional information about hospitals for consumers (leadership, services offered), we do not run out of tabs,” she said. “The new site is projected to be launched in April.”

Patten said the Medicare Hospital Compare Quality of Care website would be a more reliable source of information.

“It is based on objective data. There is nothing hidden,” he said. “It gives a better idea (of what the scores are).”

The Medicare Quality of Care site is the same site on which Phoebe was noted for being worse than the national benchmark when it comes to central-line associated bloodstream infections. Of that, Patten said: “Our goal is to get to ‘0.’ We are not there yet, but we are getting closer.

“What we spend our time doing is moving in the right direction on these things.”

According to Healthgrades, patient safety indicators reflect the quality of care at a hospital by measuring how well the hospital prevents potentially avoidable complications and adverse events following surgeries and procedures. Software from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality is used to count the actual number of patient safety events and predict the expected number of patient safety incidences likely to occur at a hospital based on such factors as the types of cases treated at that hospital.

Ratings for each of the safety indicators are based on a comparison of the actual number of events to the expected number for that hospital, the website says.

Healthgrades does note that each indicator is rated independently, and some indicators apply to more patients than others. Some patient safety events occur more frequently than others, so as a result the rate of patients affected for each indicator may vary.

There is also a quality and ratings tab that shows this year’s survival and complication ratings for the hospital by a one-star, three-star or five-star system based on actual and predicted figures. The ratings showed Phoebe to be below expected outcomes in several areas including COPD, hip fracture treatment, neurosurgery while in the hospital, pancreatitis, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis, stroke, total hip replacement and total knee replacement.

“For lay people to look at that (the star system) and make something of it is difficult,” Patten said. “I don’t fully understand it.”

Phoebe’s ratings for COPD, pneumonia, respiratory failure and sepsis showed an average cost with a longer than average stay.

“When you look at the complicated cases we get referred here, it creates for patients a difficult time recovering,” Patten said of the pneumonia ratings. “The predicted rates are fudge factors at best.

“It is very difficult for someone that doesn’t have all the data (to interpret). It is difficult for people to make judgments.”


BigEd 3 years, 8 months ago

Palmyra is still listed as well


Cartman 3 years, 8 months ago

Well......it may not be good, but at least it's expensive. What I liked was the quote, "While the data from www.healthgrades.com look bad, officials at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital say that they are not what they seem to be."


ObjectiveEyes 3 years, 8 months ago

And yet Dr Patten admits, "I don't fully understand it." So, how can it not be as bad as it seems? Typical Phoebe double-speak. Of course, Wernick and Loudermilk have been lying to the public for years...


Trustbuster 3 years, 8 months ago

This doesn't surprise me that Phoebe has low grades in patient security. When my wife attended the emergency room at Phoebe Worth several years ago for heart trouble blood was on the floor from a previous medical treatment in that room. Obviously sanitation was not on the top of the list during the visit to this hospital. What was also bad was the outrageous bill presented to me for the emergency room visit. I quickly contacted the hospital business office and informed them of the emergency room conditions during our visit.

Of course a Phoebe official is going to "whitewash" this grade. Consider this a hospital which has millions of dollars earned as a so-called nonprofit hospital with offshore bank accounts that are not subject to IRS oversight cannot score a higher grade on patient safety.


dingleberry 3 years, 8 months ago

Always amazing is how Phoebe is never as "bad" as negative reports and data indicate but is always "better" than favorable information indicates. Good example of practicing "do no harm" as it relates to "the company".


Cartman 3 years, 8 months ago

When is local leadership going to appoint someone to the Hospital Board that will have the gumption to take our local public hospital back, or at least - get it under control? The exorbitant prices charged for health care, fuels Wernick's expansionist empire-building. He profits while we suffer the economic consequences. Put someone on the Hospital Board who will make the efforts to get some accountability. Replace Wernick and Loudermilk. Then let's see how the money-generating machine operates. Crank the prices down to a competitive level and attract some new industry to the area.


southwestga 3 years, 8 months ago

The Herald still needs to report and analyze the Medicare information from all the regional facilities.

Where's the Trauma Center?

What happened to the Museum article? It had many comments Sunday am, but today it's not listed under the 'commented' tab. I can understand if Phoebe's display doesn't list the Factoids, etc, but it will be disappointing if Throntaseeka, a legitimate historical authority, glosses over the reality of the place over the past ten+ years. How about the pages of letters that The Herald printed in opposition to Phoebe trying to force Albany Internal Medicine out of town?


ObjectiveEyes 3 years, 8 months ago

It seems that Phoebe articles have a way of vanishing into cyberspace. It's not the first time that it's happened. They don't even appear using the "Search" function. Just saying...


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