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Room for improvement

Patient satisfaction at Virginia hospitals is still below the national average

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Print this page by Robert Powell

Patients’ satisfaction with Virginia hospitals still is running below the U.S. average, according to the latest results of an annual survey.

The 2011 Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey showed an average of 69 percent of patients nationally gave hospitals a top rating (a 9 or 10 on a scale of 1 to 10) for their patient care.  In Virginia, however, the average was three points lower, 66 percent.

The 2011 results showed little change from the 2010 survey in which 68 percent of patients nationwide gave hospitals high marks, compared with 65 percent of Virginia patients.

Twenty-eight of the 77 Virginia hospitals participating in the 2011 survey (36 percent) met or exceeded the national average, a ratio virtually identical to the year before (28 of 76 hospitals).

The patient satisfaction leader in Virginia for 2011 was Virginia Hospital Center. Seventy-nine percent of patients gave the Arlington hospital a 9 or 10 on patient care while 85 percent of patients said they would definitely recommend the facility to others.

Richmond-based Virginia Health Information has made patient satisfaction survey results available to the public for the past three years. Virginia Business has worked with VHI since 2004 in tracking information on a variety of medical services at hospitals in the commonwealth.

The following pages detail patient response to the survey, which gauged only the care of adults. Specialty hospitals and children’s hospitals were not included in the survey.

Also, included in this report are charts outlining patient volume in 10 service lines, or types of procedures, at hospitals in five regions throughout the state. The charts break down the number of patients discharged at each hospital for a particular treatment. The charts also show what that number represents as a percentage of the region’s total patient volume for that service.

For example, Roanoke-based Carilion Medical Center discharged 3,179 patients for obstetrics/delivery in 2011, a figure that represents 26.6 percent of all patients in that category in the Southwest region of the state.
More service line charts are available at and the VHI website.

The HCAHPS patient satisfaction survey is funded by two federal agencies, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

In addition to giving hospitals an overall rating, patients taking the survey were asked whether they would “definitely” recommend a hospital to friends and family. Nationally, an average of 70 percent of patients gave their hospital a full endorsement while 68 percent was the average in Virginia. About 44 percent of the Virginia hospitals (34 of 77) scored 70 percent or better.

Following Virginia Hospital Center in overall ratings for patient care in 2011 were Bon Secours Memorial Regional Medical Center in Mechanicsville (76 percent) and Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center (75 percent).

Trailing the Virginia Hospital Center on patient recommendations were Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center (80 percent).and Lynchburg-based Centra Health (79 percent).

Additional information on hospitals, physicians, health insurance and nursing facilities are available at VHI’s website,

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