Before you try a new restaurant, you might check out reviews to see what other customers thought of the place. Now you can do that with hospitals, too. But our state’s hospitals aren’t stacking up so well.
This is the first time the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has turned patient polls into star ratings so future health care consumers can make quick comparisons. Most New Mexico hospitals get two and three stars, with a few fours peppered in. Only four states and Washington, D.C., have a lower average star rating than New Mexico.
But Jeff Dye, president of the state’s Hospital Association, said it’s a problem that the data is almost a year old. "Hospitals are always reviewing their scores more currently and working on improving all the time," he said, "so it doesn’t immediately represent the activity that is going on today."
CMS has been polling patients for nearly a decade on things like how well nurses and doctors communicated with them, how clean and quiet the hospital was, and how prepared they were to care for their own wounds and illnesses when they left.
Dye said New Mexico is challenged by a diverse patient population. "There’s certainly cultural competencies that would enter in and the ability to meet every patient’s need in a way that they would expect or be used to."