Tyler's UTHSC ranks top 10 percent for pulmonary care

Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

Released by Toni Moore with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler:

A study issued today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings organization, finds that The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler is among the top 10 percent in the nation for pulmonary care.

The nation's nearly 5,000 nonfederal hospitals were all included in the sweeping study, which examined mortality rates and complication rates from government data from 2006, 2007, and 2008.

As a result, UTHSCT received the 2010 Pulmonary Care Excellence Award and has received Five-Star Ratings for treatment of pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, in 2010.

In addition, UTHSCT received the 2009/2010 Outstanding Patient Experience Award, placing it in the top 5 percent of hospitals nationwide for providing exemplary service to patients. It is one of only 31 hospitals in Texas and 340 hospitals in the nation to receive this award.

"Whenever our institution receives awards like these, it is always due to the hard work, dedication, and enthusiasm of our work force and to our commitment to continuous improvement in all that we do," said UTHSCT President Dr. Kirk A. Calhoun.

The HealthGrades 12th annual "Hospital Quality in America" study, the largest annual report of its kind, analyzed patient outcomes from nearly 40 million Medicare hospitalization records.

Top-performing hospitals had dramatically lower mortality rates than other hospitals, according to the study. For the 17 procedures and diagnoses for which HealthGrades analyzed mortality rates, patients at top hospitals had a 72 percent lower chance of dying when compared with the lowest-performing hospitals, and a 52 percent lower chance of dying when compared to the U.S. national average.

As the only hospital in Northeast Texas that specializes in pulmonary diseases, UTHSCT has been able to accomplish these high-quality ratings by having a team of physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists who have worked together for years using standardized evidence-based treatment guidelines that are proven to decrease mortality. In addition, as an academic health science center physicians are available to patients in the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

HealthGrades Ratings

HealthGrades rates hospitals independently based on data that hospitals submit to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) services, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. No hospital can opt in or out of being rated, and no hospital pays to be rated.

For 28 procedures and treatments, HealthGrades issues star ratings that reflect the mortality and complication rates for each category of care.

Hospitals receiving a five-star rating have mortality or complication rates that are below the national average, to a statistically significant degree. A three-star rating means the hospital performs as expected. One-star ratings indicate the hospital's mortality or complication rates in that procedure or treatment are statistically higher than average.

Because the risk profiles of patient populations at hospitals are not alike, HealthGrades risk-adjusts the data to allow for apples-to-apples comparisons.

The Outstanding Patient Experience Award is based on data from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey, a CMS initiative. Patients answered 27 survey questions, including how well nurses and physicians at the hospital communicate with patients, how responsive hospital employees are to patient needs, how well employees communicate with patients about medicines, how clean and quiet were the patients rooms, and whether the patients would recommend the hospital to others.

More information on today's HealthGrades study, including the complete methodology, can be found at www.healthgrades.com.

For 60 years, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler has provided excellent patient care and cutting-edge treatments, specializing in pulmonary disease, cancer, heart disease, primary care, and the disciplines that support them. With an operating budget of more than $125 million and biomedical research funding that exceeds $10 million annually, UTHSCT has a major economic impact on East Texas. Its two medical residency programs - in family medicine and occupational medicine - provide doctors for many communities in East Texas and beyond. For more information, visit www.uthct.edu.