I take strong exception to the conclusions reached by Consumer Reports regarding our hospital which were reported in the leading article on Aug. 14, 2013. Yes, we had 14 Medicare patients out of 150 who, between 2009 and 2011, had length of stays after total knee replacement or spine surgery which exceeded acceptable norms for these procedures. This criterion, along with death (of which we had none), was used to rank our hospital at the bottom of Colorado hospitals. However, not a single one of our patients had a “complication” or “adverse outcome,” which the study presumes occurs if a patient stays even a single day beyond what is considered “normal” for that procedure. In fact, each of our 14 patients stayed an extra day either because of unavoidable delays in obtaining a rehab bed, additional physical therapy or post-operative pain management. I am actually proud of our hospital for keeping our patients as long as is needed to give the best care each patient requires, even if it means our reputation may be impugned by reports such as this. Also, as I understand it, our hospital is usually not reimbursed by Medicare for extra days of hospitalization, but to us individual patient care must always come first.
Our vigorous quality assurance program had already looked at each of these 14 cases for any evidence of problems which could have been managed better and concluded that in each of these cases, the care was excellent, meeting every quality metric except length of stay. We continue to review every case which falls outside of our extremely high quality thresholds for ways we can improve. Health care will always be subject to review and this is welcomed by us as we strive to become better each day. However, trust your doctor when it comes to decisions about where to obtain your health care. The ones I work with every day choose St. Anthony’s Summit Medical Center.
David S. Lennon, M.D.
President of the Medical Staff
St Anthony’s Summit Medical Center