12 Chicago hospitals rated below average

August 4, 2009 (CHICAGO) Consumers Reports says its new ratings web site is a helpful tool for anyone who wants to check out how their local hospital stacks up against others. But, the Illinois Hospital Association warns consumers that the ratings system is only based on patient experiences, not on how a hospital rates on care. Out of the 12 Chicago hospitals that ranked below average, Mount Sinai is the only teaching hospital.

THE LIST: How Chicago hospitals rated

In a well-coordinated effort, Mount Sinai nurses teamed together to turn a patient every two hours. The team system is something that was put in place this year. Mount Sinai's CEO says this is just one new initiate the hospital is working on to improve this West Side hospital.

"We're working on language, we're working on -- to the extent we can control it -- how the facility looks. We're looking at the way we engage patients," said Alan Channing, president and CEO of Sinai Health System.

Despite these changes, Mount Sinai is one of 12 Chicago hospitals that rate significantly below the national average in a Consumer Reports online health rating of 3,400 hospitals in the United States. The ratings are based on measuring a patient's hospital experience.

Consumer Reports says the 12 hospitals ranked low in cleanliness, communication about medications and discharge planning. Consumer Reports hopes patients will use the data during their next hospital stay.

"They can use this data to figure out, are they in a hospital that has problems, what kind of problems, and to be more assertive to insist that they get good care and that their rooms are cleaned," said Dr. John Santa, Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

But, the Illinois Hospital Association says, the ratings are misleading because they only focuses on patient experiences.

"These are not reflective of clinical quality care. They are reflective of patients' perceptions, which again we do know are tied to the age of the institution and the resources, the physical capital resources that exist within the hospital setting," said Patricia Merryweather-Args, Illinois Hospital Association.

The IHA says most of the Chicago hospitals on the list serve the disadvantaged in poor areas where resources are limited and the hospitals are old.

Mount Sinai says its main focus is on the quality of care, which CEO Alan Channing says is above average.

"From where Sinai stands today looking, at the clinical practice of care, for 76 percent of the indicators we're in the top 10 percent in the country," said Channing.

Mount Sinai's CEO says his hospital's priority will always be the medical care.

Besides Mount Sinai, the Illinois Hospital Association says all of the hospitals on the list have made patient improvements during the past year.

The Consumer Reports ratings website is based on patient surveys conducted in 2007 and 2008.

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