Several weeks ago, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released their new Hospital Compare ratings. Maine Medical Center in Portland improved from a two-star rating to a five-star one. Congratulations are in order for MMC and the four other five-star Maine hospitals.

In 2016, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Press Herald about Maine’s two largest hospitals, MMC and Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Both got a two-star rating that year.

Apparently MMC took this poor rating seriously and made positive changes. I would love to hear more details about those improvements.

EMMC stayed at a miserable two-star rating. EMMC is three blocks from my house. Any ambulance would take me there in an emergency.

That hospital’s low rating worries me. I worked as an emergency room nurse at EMMC years ago; more recently, I went there as a patient. I left before being seen because of what I saw and how I was treated. My ER care at St. Joseph Hospital was efficient and compassionate by contrast.

EMMC touts remarkable care in their advertising, but their low rating reflects something different. What has MMC done that EMMC has not done? How can my neighborhood hospital become a five-star hospital, like MMC did? Do they communicate and share successes with each other?

A good investigational report could reveal the secrets, both good and bad, of what led to the improvements at MMC and the stagnation at EMMC. Many measurements are used to compile a CMS Hospital Compare rating, and a deep dive may hold the answers.

I look forward to learning more about these ratings. As a patient safety activist and a Maine health care consumer, I believe that we all have the right to know details about these ratings, and the steps that are being taken for improvement.

Kathy Day, R.N.