Commonwealth Journal

March 31, 2014

An Open Letter to the Community from LCRH


Commonwealth Journal

To Our Community,
Last week, Consumer Reports released safety scores for hospitals across the country utilizing data collected by Medicare. We are disappointed that Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital was ranked among bottom-scoring hospitals. Consumers should have access to accurate information to help them make informed choices about their healthcare. However, the information used to calculate the Consumer Reports scores does not provide an accurate picture of our hospital’s quality and safety performance. 
We learned several years ago that we had not been submitting complete clinical information to Medicare. So, the government’s ability to effectively determine how sick our patients were and predict expected outcomes was compromised. To address this problem, we implemented a clinical documentation improvement program. Subsequently, our quality scores have moved back into the expected ranges. The poor score from Consumer Reports was caused by this data problem and not poor quality care.
Since 2012, our inpatient mortality rates have declined by 47 percent and readmissions have declined by seven percent because we have been submitting the proper data. However, because the Medicare data used by Consumer Reports is from 2009 to 2012, it does not reflect these improvements yet. 
At Lake Cumberland, we are committed to creating a safe patient environment. Our employees and medical staff work constantly to enhance the high quality medical care we provide to our community. For the last two years, Lake Cumberland has participated in the Medicare Partnership for Patients program, which focuses on improving patient safety and reducing common patient harms. We are making incredible strides and have significantly reduced falls, hospital-acquired infections and treatment errors. We exceed the national benchmarks in many of these areas.
Our progress can also be seen in other ways. In February, our hospital was surveyed by The Joint Commission, a national accrediting organization for hospitals. We received a full three-year accreditation. Lake Cumberland is the only hospital in our region that is a Joint Commission certified stroke center.
We have two other initiatives underway designed to improve our services now and in the future. Improving patient satisfaction is a high priority. Through a Relationship-Based Care program, we are soliciting feedback from our patients about how to make patient stays more comfortable. While patients are generally satisfied with our services, they are helping us make improvements to ensure a better patient experience. Also, this summer, Lake Cumberland will become a teaching hospital for internal medicine and family medicine residents with the American Osteopathic Association.
All of us working at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital are confident and proud of the care being provided. We are sorry for any concern this report has caused and apologize for any negative reflection it has had on our community. We are committed to doing all that we can to earn your continued support and confidence. 
 
Sincerely,
 
Mark Brenzel
Chief Executive Officer
 
Hilma Prather
Board Chairman
 
Michael Citak, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
 
Barry Dixon, M.D.
President Physician Services