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Tomah Health Earns Five Stars for Patient Experiences

For the very first time in its history, Tomah Health has received a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for patient experiences.

Tomah Health Quality / Compliance director Shelly Egstad, MASL, RN said the history-making achievement is great news because it is the result of what patients said about Tomah Health on recent patient-completed surveys.

“It’s very exciting because it tells us that patients have had a positive experience at our facility,” Egstad said of the recently released CMS information.

In a CMS print release, officials said the star ratings “build a health care system that delivers better care, spends health care dollars more wisely, and results in healthier people.”

CMS created the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Star Ratings to enable consumers to more quickly and easily assess the patient experience of care information that is provided on the Hospital Compare website. The Hospital Compare star ratings relate to patients’ experience of care at nearly 3500 Medicare-certified acute-care hospitals including Tomah Health.

Egstad said just 6 percent of hospitals in the U.S. received the five star rating. “We’re pretty excited to be in that top tier.” She added that Tomah Health has always reached the four star level which is above average. “This is the first time that we have reached five stars, so we are pausing to celebrate.”

The patient surveys rate facilities on things like communication with doctors & nurses, pain management, discharge information, quietness and cleanliness of the hospital and how likely a person is to recommend a facility to others.

CMS requires hospitals to survey patients, which Egstad said are completed randomly by a third party company. “We use a third party to conduct the survey and the surveys go to them and they send the information to CMS,” explained Egstad. “We just can’t pick the ones that we think might answer the survey well.”

She encouraged patients that receive a survey to complete it and return it to the hospital. “We do use that feedback and every comment is sent to our Administration and they review every comment. We take this seriously and I do think that’s one of the reasons why we achieved five stars.”

Tomah Health CEO Phil Stuart called the five star news “outstanding,” adding it is the result of a lot of work being done by a lot of people. “It really shows the dedication that our staff has to make sure our patients received high quality, safe care. It is a testament to the work that we do every day.”

Egstad stressed that the survey results are the product of a “team effort” at Tomah Health. “For example, we have phenomenal housekeepers who just by their warm and welcoming nature have made a patient experience,” said Egstad. “We’ve had a number of patients comment that everybody seems so cheerful. That’s important to a patients’ experience.”

She said it is vital for the hospital to receive feedback from patients to let staff know how they are doing. “We may think we are giving great care and meeting the patient’s needs, but that’s what we think. We need to hear it from the patient.”

While the five-star rating is something to celebrate, Egstad said it also is a realization there is more work to do. “We know our work does not stop when you get five stars, in fact, we need to continue the efforts that we put forth and continue the work we are doing; continual improvement is part of our philosophy,” she said. “We know that patients who are happy or pleased with their care are more likely to come back for more care and we want to be here for the community.”

For Tomah Health Patient Survey Responses CLICK HERE

To compare information on hospitals across the countryCLICK HERE

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