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Pratt: St. James Hospital earns 5-star rating

Is a 5-Star Hospital the same as a 5-Star Hotel?

You probably already know there are five-star restaurants and five-star hotels, but did you know there also are five-star hospitals and that one of them is close to home?

St. James Parish Hospital has been awarded a five-star rating under a new system, which officials say will make it easier for consumers to choose a hospital and understand the quality of care they deliver.

Only three acute care hospitals in Louisiana received a 5-star rating. Eight-five Louisiana hospitals were scored.

In an attempt to simplify hospital quality ratings for consumers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) posted star ratings recently on its Hospital Compare website, based on a five-star scale with 5 being the highest score.

The ratings reflect an average of hospitals’ performances on 11 measures from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey.

That survey includes patient evaluations of the hospital staff’s responsiveness, care transitions, how well information about medications is communicated and cleanliness and quietness of the facility. The ratings are from patient responses gathered between July 1, 2013, and June 30, 2014.

“The patient experience star ratings will make it easier for consumers to use the information on the Hospital Compare website and spotlight excellence in health care quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, acting principal deputy administrator for CMS and deputy administrator for innovation and quality.

“These star ratings also encourage hospitals and clinicians to strive to continuously improve the patient experience and quality of care delivered to all patients.”

The agency cautioned that patient experience captures only one aspect of hospital quality and that patients should consider multiple factors when choosing a hospital.

The new rating is available on Hospital Care, CMS’ public information website at medicare.gov/HospitalCompare. Hospital Compare, a user-friendly website, allows consumers to type in a zip code, state or city.

With the click of a button, a list of nearby hospitals is then populated. Consumers simply check off up to three hospitals to compare their quality statistics and see their star ratings.

Mary Ellen Pratt is St. James Parish Hospital CEO. She can be reached at info@sjph.org.