As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I handle medical negligence and wrongful death cases throughout Harris County, including northwest Houston, where my office is located.
As its name suggests, Houston Northwest Medical Center is one of the major hospitals in the northwest Houston area. It is located at 710 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, Texas 77090. It is part of the Tennessee-based hospital mega-chain called HCA Healthcare. I have handled numerous lawsuits in matters involving health care provided at this hospital.
According to Medicare’s hospital comparison data, there are quality of care concerns that current and future patients of Houston Northwest Medical Center should be aware of.
Medicare ranks hospitals nationwide based on 57 quality measures related to common conditions that hospitals treat, such as heart attacks, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and stroke. Other quality measures focus on hospital-acquired infections, hospital readmission rates, patient experiences with hospital facilities, doctors, and nurses, efficient use of diagnostic radiology imaging, and timeliness of care.
Under the most current data, Medicare gave Houston Northwest Medical Center an overall rating of two out of five (2/5) stars. The hospital received this low overall rating because its performance was below the national average on safety of care, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care, and efficient use of diagnostic radiology imaging.
In the category of patient experience, the hospital fell below the Texas and national averages for the following measures reported by patients: nurses did not always communicated well; doctors did not always communicated well; they did not always received help as soon as they wanted; their pain was not always well-controlled; staff did not always explained about medicines before giving them; their room and bathroom were not always clean; the area around their room was not always quiet at night; they were not given information about what to do during the recovery at home; they did not strongly agree that they understood their care when leaving the hospital; they did not give their hospital 9 or 10 out of 10 rating; and they did not say that they would definitely recommend the hospital.
In the category of timely and effective care, the hospital performed below the Texas and national averages for the average time patients who came to the emergency room (ER) with broken bones who had to wait before getting pain medicine (70 minutes at Houston Northwest Medical Center, in comparison to 45 minutes for the Texas average and 49 minutes for the national average). The hospital is classified as having a very high emergency room volume of at least 60,000 patients per year. This hospital also exceeded Texas and national averages for average time patients spent in the ER after the doctor decided to admit them as an inpatient, but before they were taken to the inpatient room.
Medicare also tracks another category for unplanned hospital visits. This is designed to explore how often patients have returned to the hospital after a prior hospitalization and discharge. Houston Northwest Medical Center had a higher number of average days for repeated missions for heart attack patients than the national average.
For the category looking at hospital use of diagnostic radiology imaging, Houston Northwest Medical Center had a worse performance than the Texas and national averages for outpatients who got cardiac imaging stress tests before low-risk outpatient surgery. The Texas average is 4.6%, the national average is 8%, and for this hospital, the average is 7.1%. According to Medicare, higher averages may mean that too many cardiac scans were done prior to low-risk surgeries. As a medical malpractice attorney, this type of information catches my attention because unnecessarily subjecting patients to any type of diagnostic testing introduces additional risk.
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If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by poor health care at Houston Northwest Medical Center, or any other hospital in Texas, 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.
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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. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.