COVINGTON — Both Newton and Rockdale medical centers scored the second highest rating possible on a Consumer Reports rating of hospitals based on how patients fare during and after surgery.
Newton and Rockdale medical centers both scored a four out of a possible five on their overall surgery rating, according to the report released in late July.
The overall surgery rating combines results for 27 categories of scheduled surgeries, and individual ratings for five specific procedure types: back surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, angioplasty and carotid artery surgery. The ratings are based on the percentage of the hospital’s Medicare patients who died in the hospital or stayed longer than expected for their procedures. Billing claims that hospitals submitted to Medicare for patients 65 and older from 2009 through 2011 were analyzed for 2,463 hospitals in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.
“Our mission at Newton Medical Center is to provide the highest quality patient care with a laser focus on safety,” said Patty Waller, assistant administrator of Patient Care Services. “This attention to safety directly impacts the occurrence of adverse events. We are pleased that based on the Consumer Reports Ratings, NMC is one of the top rated hospitals in Georgia in preventing adverse events in Medicare patients.”
A comment from a representative from Rockdale Medical Center was unavailable by deadline.
Doris Peter, associate director for Consumer Reports Health Rating Center, said Newton and Rockdale hospitals are high performers based on those scores when it comes to commonly scheduled surgeries.
“That means they had fewer deaths and fewer prolonged lengths of stay of those particular procedures that are done in that hospital,” she said.
Peter urged all patients to talk to their surgeons prior to surgery and ask them about past results. Some people are surprised at that recommendation, she said, but added that doctors may be forthcoming and even have data they can share.
Patients can also protect themselves by arriving at the hospital with a list of medications, including over the counter drugs and supplements, that they are taking. Because the No. 1 cause of errors in hospitals is related to medication, it’s important to make sure doctors and nurses know what patients are taking, how long and why they have been taking it and why medications may have been stopped or continued, she said.
Patients should also ask questions about catheters, whether they are necessary and when they need to be removed or changed, as these can be a cause of infection.
For more information on the report, visit www.ConsumerReports.org/cro/hospitalratings0913.