Suncoast hospital scores poorly on patient complications survey

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VENICE, Fla. -- A new report shows Venice Regional Bayfront Health has the highest rate of patient complications in the state. As a result, if those numbers do not improve, the local hospital could soon lose a percentage of Medicare payments.

It's all a part of new government standards and transparency. Venice, however, isn't the only one with high numbers.

An analysis published by Kaiser Health News shows the results. Scores are based on things patients get while in the hospital: complications from catheters, blood clots, bed sores, accidental falls, and the growing trend of infections.

According to the report, Venice received a 10 score -- the worst possible.

ABC 7 asked for an interview with anyone from the hospital, and instead got a statement. "Providing quality care and safety for our patients is our top priority, and we continuously review our outcomes and adjust our practices to support these goals. We are participating in collaboratives focused on reducing pressure ulcers, falls and infections associated with central lines and catheters. Through this work we have adopted best practices that support the best possible outcomes."

Some local hospitals are talking, however, and are happy about their results.

"I was very pleased to see it.'" Dominic Todaro heads Englewood Community Hospital's Infection Control. They received a score of 1, the best of any hospital on the Suncoast. "From the infection control perspective, it is all about education and early prevention. Make sure you have systems in place that monitor."

While smaller hospitals do have an advantage, Todaro says the HCA-owned facility has some big initiatives, programs, and procedures in place -- washing hands more, removing catheters as soon as possible, and because of their size, spending more time with patients to reduce the chances of events like falls.

"I think as pressure is being put on the healthcare industry and the demand for more transparency, we are finally getting the recognition, if you will," says Todaro.

The transparency and scoring system is preliminary to the Hospital Acquired Condition Reduction Program mandated by the Affordable Health Care Act. It requires a reduction in Medicare payments to bottom ranking hospitals.

"If you take care of a few things up front, the rest takes care of itself. Financially speaking, it is less cost and less taxpayer money being spent."

Todaro says the now public information is even more motivation to take care of the patient, which in return will take care of the bottom line. "To look up and see the difference you are making makes it all worthwhile."

If Venice can't get its score down from 10 to under 7, it will lose 1% of each Medicare payment.

The other two high scores were both Sarasota Memorial and Manatee Memorial. Both had scores around 7.5, also considered unacceptable.

For a list of hospitals most likely to be penalized, or a full list of hospitals, CLICK HERE.