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Judging Quality Of Care At Hospitals

August 8, 2011, 6:13 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Judging Quality Of Care At Hospitals
SIOUX FALLS, SD - You probably have a particular hospital that you trust, but a new study finds that the hospitals people like across the United States aren't necessarily the best.

Still many South Dakota hospitals are the exception.

Gary Wolkow is recovering at Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls after suffering a heart attack last week.

"They said it was a serious heart attack," Wolkow said.

That's why he wanted to make sure he had a trusted group of medical professionals.

"It's a great facility, and the care has been wonderful and even the food is pretty good," Wolkow said.

However, it may surprise you that a new survey of Medicare patients across the U.S. shows a difference between the hospitals people like and which ones are most successful in saving lives.

"If you treat people well, they think that their care is good. Patients can't judge quality of care. It's very, very difficult," CEO & President of Avera Heart Hospital Jon Soderholm said. 

The Avera Heart Hospital is actually beating the trend. The hospital ranks in the top two percent in the nation in patient satisfaction and is also number 11 among 4,600 hospitals nationwide for survival rates.

"People can have confidence that if they have a heart attack and they come here that their chances of living are better than if they go other places," Soderholm said.

Soderholm credits that to a good team that specializes in one area.

"We do hearts, and when you do hearts and vascular, you specialize at that, the whole team gets very good at it," Soderholm said.

That is even more of a relief for Wolkow as he recovers from his heart attack and looks forward to many years with his grandchildren.

"Makes you feel good that you're going to watch them grow up and see them again," Wolkow said.

According to the survey, the Avera Heart Hospital has a mortality rate of 12 percent for heart attacks.  The Sanford Medical Center in Sioux Falls has a rate of 14 percent and Avera McKennan has a rate of 15 percent.
All of them are better than the national rate of 16 deaths per 100 heart attacks.

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