The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has several different programs to keep an eye on the quality of care being delivered at accredited hospitals. One of its most popular programs is the Hospital Compare website, which reports on quality measures for over 4,000 hospitals nationwide and includes an Overall Hospital Quality Star Rating for each hospital.
In 2017, CMS implemented changes in the way it calculated the ratings. In 2016, under the old system, only 83 hospitals received the highest possible rating of 5 stars. In December 2017, with the new system, the number of 5-star hospitals swelled up to 337.
The Texas hospitals included on CMS’s December 2017 5-star list include these facilities:
Baptist Emergency Hospital (San Antonio)
Baylor Heart and Vascular Hospital (Dallas)
Baylor Medical Center at Frisco
Baylor Scott and White All Saints Medical Center-Fort Worth
Baylor Scott and White Medical Center-Waxahachie
Baylor Scott and White Surgical Hospital at Sherman
Christus Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler
Christus St. Michael Health System (Texarkana)
Glen Rose Medical Center
Hamilton General Hospital
Harlingen Medical Center
Hill Country Memorial Hospital (Fredericksburg)
Houston Methodist Hospital
Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital
Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center (Houston)
Methodist Hospital for Surgery (Addison)
North Central Surgical Center (Dallas)
Northwest Hills Surgical Hospital (Austin)
Round Rock Medical Center
Seton Edgar B. Davis Hospital (Luling)
South Texas Surgical Hospital (Corpus Christi)
St. David's Medical Center (Austin)
St. Luke's Patients Medical Center (Pasadena)
Sugar Land Surgical Hospital
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest (Fort Worth)
Texas Orthopedic Hospital (Houston)
Texas Spine and Joint Hospital (Tyler)
The Heart Hospital Baylor Denton
The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano
Tops Surgical Specialty Hospital (Houston)
University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler
USMD Hospital at Arlington
Woodland Heights Medical Center (Lufkin)
Quality of care concerns
As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I handle medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits in Harris County and throughout the State of Texas. In reviewing the new CMS list of 5-star hospitals something stood out to me. I have investigated or filed lawsuits in medical malpractice cases involving care in many of these hospitals.
I guess it should come as no surprise that even top hospitals make medical mistakes, too, and they can cause significant injuries to patients. In my experience, there are two main reasons that this happens.
First, like most healthcare facilities, highly-ranked hospitals are often busy. This means that physicians and nurses can sometimes operate on “auto-pilot” rather than considering each patient as an individual. Rushed healthcare providers may rush to conclusions based on what diagnostic reports say or what other doctors and nurses have told them, rather than considering what the patient says.
You can reduce this safety risk by making sure to share your story with each physician and nurse who evaluates you, including asking detailed questions. Your story should include why you came to the hospital, what is bothering you, what medications you are taking, and how your condition has changed under treatment.
Second, many top-ranked hospitals are academic or teaching hospitals. The reality of this is that the new doctors who are still receiving their training—called residents and fellows—are handling most of the medical care. In a sense, the patients are their “guinea pigs” as they continue to learn in their medical fields.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not critical of residents and fellows for needing to learn their jobs, like everyone else. When it comes to patient safety, though, there is another story. Academic and teaching hospitals have top-notch attending physicians who are fully trained and often medical school professors. These attending physicians are supposed to oversee the care provided by residents and fellows, but often do not do a great job in doing so.
You can improve your safety as a patient at academic and teaching hospitals by being aware of this system and asking to be seen by an attending physician if the resident or fellow’s treatment plan seems off to you.
We are here to help
Many of our clients have told us that they have spoken with lawyers who were unwilling to take a case against a prominent or highly-ranked hospital. We handle this type of medical malpractice cases all the time.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured because of poor hospital care or medical mistakes, our experienced medical negligence attorneys can help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.
All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case.
Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. In 2017, H Texas magazine named him one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also in 2017, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.