Unhappiest Hospital Patients Are In New York City, Chicago And Florida | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Unhappiest Hospital Patients Are In New York City, Chicago And Florida

Not all hospital patients are alike. Some are harder to satisfy. Especially those who are admitted to hospitals in and around New York City, Chicago and parts of Florida.

Patients in those places gave some of the lowest evaluations of their hospital stays, Medicare data show. The surveys asked patients how well their doctors and nurses communicated, whether their pain was always handled welland whether their rooms were clean and quiet.

Out of 295 hospital markets, the ones with the least satisfied patients were: Manhattan, the Bronx, and East Long Island, N.Y.; Newark and Paterson, N.J.; Takoma Park, Md.; Chicago; and Fort Myers and Ocala, Fla.

The markets with the happiest patients were: Mason City and Dubuque, Iowa; Houma and Monroe, La.; St. Cloud, Minn.; Topeka, Kan.; Tupelo; Miss.; Bryan, Texas, Rapid City, S.D. and Bangor, Maine.

Hospitals are paying more attention to the surveys as Medicare prepares to use the results as one factor in deciding how much to pay hospitals. The new approach, part of the Affordable Care Act, pits hospital again hospital, with Medicare putting aside a portion of its regular payments and doling them out as bonuses.

Competing for every dollar is becoming increasingly important for hospitals, especially if a failure by Congress's supercommittee to reach a deficit cutting deal will lead to across-the-board Medicare cuts.

New York has the hardest patients to please in the country, with its nationally known teaching hospitals, including NYU Langone Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian and the Mount Sinai Medical Center, faring worse on patient surveys than community hospitals in the Midwest that aren't known beyond their towns.

No one has proof why New York does so poorly, but everyone has a theory. It could be all the old, cramped hospital buildings that make patients shack up in double rooms. It could be the cranky mix of lots of poor patients in especially bad health and wealthy, entitled patients. It could be the frenetic environment of teaching hospitals with a plethora of residents and specialists poking at patients.

Or it could be that New Yorkers are just grumpier and more willing to express it. "There's a different cultural norm," is the diplomatic phrasing of Deirdre Mylod, a vice president at Press Ganey, one of several consulting firms that hospitals hire to help them improve their patient scores.

Patient views are getting attention from the top at Continuum Health Partners, the nonprofit hospital system that owns Beth Israel Medical Center and three other New York hospitals. Beth Israel's president, Harris Nagler, makes daily rounds on the units, talking to patients. "He's on the units every day," says Gail Donovan, Continuum's chief operating officer.

It's no longer a just a matter of pride for Continuum administrators: their annual bonuses are influenced by how the hospitals far on patient experience surveys.

Copyright 2011 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/.

NPR

Marvel's New Hero Wants To Save The World — And The Citrus Industry

Captain Citrus was sponsored by Florida's orange growers, whose profits are being hurt by disease and declining consumer demand for orange juice. They hope the comic character will boost sales.
NPR

Syrup Induces Pumpkin-Spiced Fever Dreams

Hugh Merwin, an editor at Grub Street, bought a 63-ounce jug of pumpkin spice syrup and put it in just about everything he ate for four days. As he tells NPR's Scott Simon, it did not go well.
NPR

Texas Gubernatorial Candidates Go To The Border To Court Voters

Republicans have won every statewide office in Texas for 20 years, but the growing Hispanic population tends to vote Democrat, and the GOP's survival may depend on recruiting Hispanic supporters.
NPR

Drivers, Passengers Say Uber App Doesn't Always Yield Best Routes

People love Uber, but they often complain the Uber app's built-in navigation doesn't give its drivers the best directions. The company says the app helps drivers and passengers travel efficiently.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.