The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services rated 276 hospitals in Texas, including nine in the Big Country. CMS rated hospitals on factors such as patient satisfaction, timeliness of care, complication and infection rates, and the likelihood a patient will have to return within 30 days of being sent home. Brownwood Regional Medical Center recieved a 2-star rating, far outshining the results that Betsy Jo Tabor, Director of Quality Management had expected.
“We really thought our level of care and service was on track for one star, so we were ecstatic about receiving two!” proudly beamed Ms. Tabor when the Examiner spoke with her on the telephone early Friday morning. “Our hospital has again exemplified that it is the best healthcare option in Brown County as Brown County Animal Clinic and Austin Avenue Pet Clinic didn’t even make the list.” Tabor continued “Futhermore, only one person has died of an ingrown toenail at our facility this year. Rest in peace, Mr. Gilmore.”
Tabor states that achieving a 2-star rating takes a lot of effort, and applauds her staff in being deemed adequate. “We were worried that Cadenhead Veterinary would outperform us, as we heard they had a new X-ray machine. Thankfully we were able to rank ahead of them due to our 24 hour operation. The only reason we are a Level 2 trauma unit is because of the heliport and because we don’t go home at night. Else, they might have won.”
￼The survey shows that Geeslins Small Animal Clinic is still the best pediatric care in town, leaving Tabor with something to work on.
“We do need to improve our pediatrics, but our geriatric care is second to none.” Tabor continued “We really take pride in our new patient euthanization program. Surveys in previous years told us that patients would rather die than be admitted to BRMC, so we made it happen.” We also undertook the care of an individual with a rare and deadly disease. She came in saying Typhoid, Typhoid, while frantically fanning her mouth. Sure, after a brief 3 hour wait in the ER it just turned out that she had eaten food that was way too spicy and had acid reflux. She meant to say Thai Food. Regardless, our quick triage time meant that, had she actually been infected with Typhoid Fever, only around 39 others were exposed while she was in the virulent state.”
Another thing that Tabor thinks plays into BMRCs favor is patient expectations. “When people hear 4 star they assume its going to be expensive. With so many of our patients relying solely on Medicare and Medicaid, we know hearing 2 star will put them at ease until the bills arrive. And trust me, they will. We have to order new letterhead.”
Tabor returned to elaborate on the geriatric care. “We believe strongly in keeping seniors employed. That’s why 67% of our surgeons are 80 and up. Sure, when doctor Jones makes an incision it looks windier than 14th street, but he’s been doing this since he was first assigned to work in a field hospital in WW2. That’s why we’ve tried to keep our operating rooms and medical equipment similar to what the medics used during that period. Some patients complain about the televisions being CRTs, or the elevator sometimes requiring you to manually pull the cable ala a pulley system, but when we focus less on maintenance, we can focus more on billing. Occasionally we have to send an intern to the old wool and mohair factory to get gauze, and we pass those savings along to us!”
The only real ramifications faced by the hospital is a required logo redesign that Tabor mentioned earlier. “We don’t have 3 stars anymore, so we’re going to have to hire some prisoners from the Havins Unit to come cross out one of the stars on our logo, on our signs, and we’re going to have to order new letterhead.
No hospitals in the state got one star, the lowest overall score.