WCA Receives Many Two-Star Grades On Report Card

WCA Hospital is at the standard of care for New York state, according to their 2013 Hospital Report Card.

The rating system for much of the report card, created by the Niagara Health Quality Coalition, is based on a star system, with one star representing a metric that falls below the state average, two stars meaning that at hospital is at the state average for care and three stars meaning that a hospital is performing significantly better in a given area than the state average.

“The Niagara Coalition report is one of many hospital reports that is based on administrative data and selected outcome measures that is subject to variation, hospital to hospital,” said Marlene Garone, WCA Hospital vice president of medical affairs.

“WCA Hospital uses these reports as well as other internal and external data sets to measure and compare the outcomes of care that we deliver,” Garone continued. “We use this information to recognize and celebrate our quality and safety accomplishments and to implement process improvements in areas where we have opportunity.”

At WCA Hospital, the majority of the tested measures fell squarely into the two-star category, something that lead researcher Bruce Boissonnault sees as a positive.

“Two stars means that a hospital is at the standard of care, which is pretty good in New York,” Boissonnault said. “If you have a hospital that is all at the standard of care, that’s a good sign.”

There were, however, two categories in which WCA fell short – mortality rates for acute myocardial infarctions and postoperative wound dehiscence in abdominopelvic surgical patients.

An acute myocardial infarction, commonly called a heart attack, occurs when an artery to the heart becomes blocked. According to the American Heart Association, if a heart attack victim gets to an emergency room fast enough, prompt care dramatically reduces heart damage. However, administrative data used in the Hospital Report Card did not indicate how quickly the patient began receiving medical treatment, which may have played a part in the results. Across the state, the risk-adjusted mortality rate for heart attacks is 5.5 percent, while at WCA, the mortality rate was found to be an average of 13.9 percent of the 98 patient records that were studied.

Postoperative wound dehiscence occurs when a surgical incision or wound closure reopens after it has been closed in an operation. The state risk-adjusted occurrence rate for this metric is 0.163 percent, while at WCA, the rate was measured to be an average of .980 percent of the 180 patient records that were studied.

Despite these two one-star ratings, Boissonnault felt that overall, WCA did very well in the report, specifically when it came to the maternity ward at WCA.

“They have something that’s more of an indicator,” Boissonnault said. “For the VBAC, or vaginal birth after cesarean section, utilization rates, they have one of the better rates in the state for that. If you go there to have a baby, unless you want a c-section, they’re going to be pretty good at successful delivery without resorting to that. They’re at the standard of care for the rate of cesarean sections, too.”

“Not only do you have a hospital with good overall care, but it also looks like a pretty good place to deliver a baby,” Boissonnault continued. “It’s always nice when a community has a hospital that is pretty confident in their ability to care for patients.”

Betsy Wright, WCA Hospital president and CEO stressed that the provision of quality care and patient safety is the hospital’s No. 1 priority and it strives to provide the most appropriate quality care for every patient.

“Providing high-quality, patient-centered care is the mission of our hospital and our staff,” Wright said. “We continue to take important steps to implement best practices that support clinical improvement and patient safety. Through our initiatives, we are building on our successes in patient quality improvements that provide excellent care and service to our patients.”