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      Munson fares poorly on latest Consumer Reports ranking

      In the latest hospital rating from Consumer Reports, Munson Medical Center was one of six hospitals to receive the lowest rating in the surgery category.

      The ratings were based on billing claims sent from hospitals to Medicare. Consumer Reports looked at 86 common surgical procedures and based its ranking on how many people died in the hospital after a procedure or stayed longer than expected.

      â??All of our internal data, and frankly Medicare data, would say that our complications and outcomes in surgery is better than expected,â?? said Ed Ness, CEO of Munson Medical Center. â??Weâ??re not quite sure how they came up with their methodologyâ?|where theyâ??re assuming we have complications was our length of stay and we think our length of stay is longer because of other reasons, not because of complications.â??

      Ness said patients at Munson typically have longer lengths of stay in the facility because of the rural community and long travel distances for patients.

      While every procedure is different, the typical length of stay for a patient at Munson is four and a half days.

      â??We want to make sure if someoneâ??s sent home they donâ??t end up back in the hospital a day later,â?? Ness said.

      However, Consumer Reports said theyâ??re not simply comparing lengths of stay at hospitals across the state and country â?? the rating is adjusted for each hospital.

      â??This particular rating compares the risk-adjusted prolonged length of stay with the hospitalâ??s own average length of stay,â?? said Doris Peter, Associate Director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. â??So if that hospital has a difficult time in general discharging patients because of their locationâ?|that will be taken care of in this analysis.â??

      The Consumer Report is based off of Medicare data, however, which Ness said reflects about 55% of Munsonâ??s patients.

      Munson Medical Centerâ??s staff has been looking beyond just Medicare data â?? into other insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield and Priority Health â?? to find the standards for all patients.

      While Munson didnâ??t fare well in the surgery category of the Consumer Report, Peter said itâ??s important to look at the whole picture â?? not just one report.

      â??This hospital does have a pretty high safety score, which is looking more broadly at what happens in the hospital,â?? Peter said.

      Munson did receive Consumers Reportsâ?? second highest rating in blood stream infections.

      â??We emphasize that patients look at this as one aspect of the hospitalâ??s performance and that we do look at and publish many other aspects,â?? Peter said.

      As a result of the report, many in the medical field have realized that comprehensive data needs to be available to patients and consumers to make informed decisions about where to be treated.

      â??Now with internet and all kinds of new data, itâ??s confusing and I think itâ??s an obligation of hospitals, including Munson, to help take a leadership role,â?? said Ness.

      Consumer Reports agrees.

      â??I think we need to have all the data out there so we can compare it and come up with the best method,â?? Peter said.

      Ness said Munsonâ??s staff looks forward to working with the public to remain â??transparentâ?? and help them make educated decisions about where to get their care.