Monday, December 9, 2013
By RICHARD W. PETERSEN
I wish to respond to the article published in The Portland Press Herald on Saturday, July 14, titled "Maine Med is below average in safety rating" that referenced a Consumer Reports article on hospital and patient safety.
Maine Medical Center’s president says the hospital is proud of its performance in many publicly reported quality databases.
2009 Press Herald File
First, I want to stress that Maine Medical Center is a safe hospital. We are proud of our performance in many publicly reported quality and patient safety databases and our overall program.
MMC just recently earned an "A" score for hospital safety from The Leapfrog Group, a respected national organization that for many years has advocated for the safety, quality and affordability of health care.
Only 729 hospitals in the nation out of more than 6,000 medical center gained this distinction.
In addition, the Maine Health Management Coalition ranks us "Better" or "Best" in its safety rating categories.
And last week, U.S. News & World Report ranked Maine Medical Center the top hospital in the state and among the best in the region for five different care specialties - Cancer, Gynecology, Nephrology, Orthopedics and Urology.
Consumer Reports ranked MMC low in central line infection rate and communication. These two important areas are a priority for Maine Medical Center and improvement plans are in place.
Specific quality targets (including infections and patient communications) have been included in our annual goals, and we're making progress toward our target. We've seen improvement in our central line infection rate through an insertion checklist, and are working to reduce infections after insertion of a central line.
We're working to eliminate those types of infections (and others) throughout the medical center. In addition, we're taking action to improve communications (as measured by our patient satisfaction scores) where we recognize we can get better.
Hospital quality data appears in many public forums like websites, newspaper and magazine articles.
Individual hospital information is compared side by side with national and state averages, benchmarks and in many cases, direct comparisons with other hospitals.
This is the right thing to do.
Maine Medical Center continues to support and encourage publicly reporting quality data to help patients and families make more informed decisions regarding their health care. In fact, Consumer Reports applauded those hospitals (like Maine Medical Center) that voluntarily release quality data to the public.
It is also important to note there is no uniform standard for the reporting of quality data.
Different rating agencies and organizations take subsets of the same data and come out with vastly different rankings of the same institutions. This adds confusion for all.
All of this is to say that the public reporting of health care quality data is a good thing.
I expect we'll see more uniform standards over time, a change that would be good for health care and our patients.
In the meantime, at Maine Medical Center we will continue to be open, honest, clear and transparent about both the things we do to take care of our patients and the result of that care.
You may want to look at Maine Medical Center rankings by other organizations including the Leapfrog Group, Maine Health Management Coalition and Federal CMS Hospital compare websites.
You may also wish to visit the Maine Medical Center website (www.mmc.org) and click on the quality section.
I want you to know that all of us at Maine Medical Center take the quality of our patient care very, very seriously, from our community board members and administration, to our physicians and nurses, to our various caregiver teams.
We will continue to improve upon our patient care.
Because at the end of the day, we fully recognize that those for whom we care may be you, your mother, father, brother, sister, friend ... a loved one.
In closing, I want to again note that MMC is an excellent and safe hospital.
I have and will continue to come here for care, knowing that our people give 100 percent, every day.
Quality care and patient safety remain our highest priorities -- and that won't change.
Richard W. Petersen is president and chief executive officer of Maine Medical Center.