How Does Your Hospital Rank?

by Jessica Cervantez

A national survey finds overall patients only receive what experts consider top-quality care about half the time. East Texas hospitals say their number one priority is to make sure that happens more often. But, doing that can be a challenge.

Clarence Barton visits the hospital frequently. He just had heart surgery, so good healthcare is vital.

"I have had good services here in Nacogdoches. I've had heart surgery, so I'd class it well," Barton said.

Making sure patients like Barton receive quality care is important to hospital administrators.

Norma Sanford, the director of clinical operations for the Memorial Hospital of East Texas, said, "We have implemented a speak-up program that encourages patients and their families to communicate with physicians and caregivers and become actively involved in the care they're receiving."

Lamar Neill, a Nacogdoches resident, said, "I've had quality care, I've got to go to the heart doctor tomorrow."

The director of quality and risk at Woodland Heights in Lufkin works on assessing and improving quality of care. She disagrees with the national survey, and believes hospital care is better than those numbers show.

Jannett Fowler said, "I feel like healthcare in America is much better, especially here in Lufkin. At Woodland Heights we look at all aspects. Healthcare doesn't just encompass the hospitals anymore, it's from the nursing home to physician offices."

From patient care, to response time, East Texas hospitals continue looking for ways to improve.

Rhonda Tubbe, at Nacogdoches Medical Center, said, "There's always room for improvement and that's why we're constantly going out to seminars to learn different techniques, different processes to better patient care in the hospital."

In fact, many patients rate good quality care, by just feeling important.

Margaret Hornbuckle, another Nacogdoches resident, said, "When you have somebody that is worried about their patients and they see that they're taken care of."

The national survey measured whether patients got the highest standard of treatments available including the right tests and the right drugs.