St. Mary's Janesville Hospital comes out on top in patient satisfaction survey

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Gina Duwe
Saturday, March 1, 2014

JANESVILLE--St. Mary's Janesville Hospital came out on top in patient satisfaction results among area hospitals.

Of patients who responded to a national survey after a hospital stay, 86 percent said they would “definitely” recommend St. Mary's Janesville. Across town, 68 percent of respondents said they would “definitely” recommend Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

Beloit Memorial Hospital scored the lowest among area hospitals in the category at 65 percent.

“We're incredibly proud of our results,” said Laura Walczak, St. Mary's Janesville vice president of patient care services. “We realize that we have done this through our mission, and our mission is 'Through our exceptional health care services, we reveal the healing presence of God.'”

St. Mary's also had the highest percentage of patients—82—rate their hospital with a 9 or 10 on a scale from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest). The lowest percentage in that category among area hospitals was Mercy at 70 percent.

The survey results are from a one-year period starting in April 2012. Data is released quarterly, and this is the first time a full year of data has been publicly available for St. Mary's, which opened in Janesville in January 2012.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services developed the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey to provide a standardized way to measure patient perspectives on hospital care nationwide. The 32-question survey asks patients about their recent experiences, and results for 10 categories are adjusted and analyzed before being released on the medicare.gov Hospital Compare website.

The survey is one of several care measures on the site that can be used to compare hospitals.

Edgerton Hospital and Health Services also brought in top scores for the area, but officials urged caution because fewer than 50 patients in Edgerton completed the survey. Eighty-four percent of responding patients “definitely” would recommend the Edgerton hospital, while 80 percent rated it with a nine or 10.

Wisconsin hospitals consistently perform better than the rest of the nation, and the state average for all 10 questions was above the national average.

St. Mary's was at or above the state average in all but one category, Beloit was at or below the state average in all categories and Mercy was at or below in all but one category.

The category that got the highest marks across all hospitals was patients reporting they received information about what to do during recovery at home. Those responses ranged from 85 percent to 90 percent.

St. Mary's

The opening of the city's second hospital in 2012 brought an “overwhelming feeling of excitement and newness” that carried it through at least the first year, Walczak said.

But that newness only lasts for so long, she said, and hospital staff looked at data and patient feedback. Nurses now does hourly rounding, and a leadership commitment ensures staff members are being attentive and living the hospital's values every day and that leaders are visible in the units and talking to patients and staff, she said.

She attributed their success to building a staff committed to the hospital's values of community, compassion, stewardship, excellence and respect.

“What I see here is a tremendous amount of empathy from our staff--understanding that people aren't here because they really want to be here,” she said. “Once you have a group of people who are committed and skilled and open to learning how to do things differently and really keeping the patient in the forefront of every single decision, then the results follow.”


Mercy's survey results improved in nearly all categories since 2008, when the results were first publicly available. Hospital officials at the time attributed some of the low numbers to construction going on within the hospital, and that work is now complete.

“We have been working hard to elevate the level of care in all of the areas, and we're proud of those accomplishments,” Mercy Vice President Ruth Yarbrough said.

The hospital now has all private rooms, “which really elevates the level of care that we're able to provide to those patients,” she said. “It makes for a much better experience.”

Mercy has added specialists in many areas and worked hard with groups within the organization to increase satisfaction and quality scores, administrators said.

Current scores not yet available to the public are even better, Yarbrough said, “so we know that we're continuing along the path.”

Yarbrough said it's important for consumers to look at all quality measures available on the Hospital Compare website because the total results tell the whole picture.

“(Our) quality and efficiency results are very strong, and we're very proud,” she said. “We hope that consumers would be interested in all of the results and would look to the whole picture.”

Results for Mercy Walworth Hospital were not available because inpatient hospital services are fairly new, hospital officials said.

Beloit Memorial

Sarah Starmer, media coordinator for Beloit Health System, said the hospital takes its feedback seriously and is proud to have some of the highest patient satisfaction scores in the country. The publicly available survey results are from the period when the hospital was preparing for and going live with a new electronic health records system.

“This was one of the most challenging and disruptive phases in our history. Although the scores were not where we want them to be, they are comparable to our peer hospitals,” Starmer said in a statement. “We are pleased to report that our most recent patient satisfaction scores show a significant improvement.”

The latest results from November 2013 to January 2014 show an average improvement of more than 3 percent in each area, she said. The most improved being a 9 percent improvement in nighttime quiet and a 5 percent increase in the number of patients who would recommend the Beloit hospital.

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