Region 8 Hospitals Stack Up to National Average

JONESBORO, AR--A new scorecard has been released on healthcare and how do facilities in Region 8 stack up?

The Department of Health and Human Services is releasing its findings on hospitals across the country. It's new information that should help consumers be better informed with healthcare decisions.

While numbers were released nationally Thursday, Arkansas is several years ahead of the curve when it comes to releasing performance based statistics to patients. The good news for Region 8 is just about every hospital in the area is performing above average.

"Our Arkansas hospitals and more specifically Greene and Craighead County are better than the state and the national average so we are very proud," said Dr. Ray Hall of NEA Clinic.

Hall feels the newest statistics reflect the high quality of healthcare present in Northeast Arkansas. Doug Doggett of St. Bernards Medical Center believes patients will be able to use these results as the consumer reports of the healthcare industry.

"It's going to be easy for a consumer to get out there who might need healthcare information to find out how good we do in certain areas and how much is it going to cost me," said Doggett.

While the hospitals are pleased with the good publicity that comes with the results, they agreed it is the patient who benefits with the additional information.

"I think the patient and the public will benefit by being able to make intelligent decisions," said Hall.

People that live near larger hospitals aren't the only ones who stand to gain from this abundance of information, residents who live in more rural areas can log on and find out what services are offered at their local hospital.

"I think it makes them feel a little bit better knowing that we are offering some of the same service as some of the larger institutions at the same quality," said Leah Osbahr of Lawrence Health Systems.

Osbahr is one of those smaller hospitals. They won an award for their treatment of pneumonia; however with the additional attention positive results bring it becomes more important to cut down on the negative.

"By making the consumer aware there is more pressure for us," said Doggett.

Dr. Hall feels with that pressure comes adjustments and that too benefits the patient.

"I think we will be able to use these numbers to shore up our areas of weakness and increase the quality that we deliver," said Hall.

According to Osbahr with more insurance companies reimbursing less, more of the financial burden is on the patient, so making the right decision with healthcare is paramount.

"It's just a fact of life today consumers want to know what they are paying for and what it is going to cost them," said Osbahr.

The only hospital that graded well below the national average was Sparks Medical in Ft. Smith.