Making the cut
Four Va. hospitals get top marks from patients
The focal point of a New York Times exposé last year, Bon Secours’ Richmond Community Hospital was one of four hospitals in Virginia to receive top marks from patients in an annual nationwide survey.
The Virginia results of the latest survey, which was conducted in 2021, are shown below. Overall, Virginia patient satisfaction was 70%, two percentage points below the national average.
Four of 81 Virginia acute-care hospitals received patients’ top ratings: Richmond Community; Inova Loudoun Hospital; Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville; and Valley Health’s Page Memorial Hospital in Luray. Unlike the other three, Richmond Community’s ranking was based on fewer than 50 completed surveys.
In September 2022, the Times reported that Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health was making as much as $100 million a year from Richmond Community, largely due to the federal 340B program, which allows hospitals in poor areas to purchase medications for a large discount, while charging insurers full price and keeping the profits. Unlike the nonprofit health system’s suburban hospitals, the Times reported, Richmond Community lacked an intensive care unit, a maternity ward and a reliably working magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine. In December 2022, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that $27.5 million was sent from Richmond Community to Bon Secours’ Ohio headquarters in 2019.
The patient satisfaction scores come from the annual Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Results are provided by Virginia Health Information, a Richmond-based nonprofit offering an array of data on hospitals, nursing facilities, physicians and health insurers in the commonwealth. In addition to the patient satisfaction survey, VHI annually provides Virginia Business with service line reports showing patient discharge volume by region for a wide variety of hospital procedures.
The national satisfaction survey asks patients two questions: How do they rate hospitals overall? And would they recommend the hospital to friends and family? The highest ratings in answer to the first question are 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale. The highest recommendation in response to the second question is: “Yes, definitely.”
In answering both questions in 2021, 80% or more of respondents gave top ratings to the four hospitals. Additionally, another six hospitals scored 80% or better on one of the two questions in the 2021 survey: Inova Fair Oaks Hospital in Fairfax; Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church; Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Onancock; Smyth County Community Hospital in Marion; University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville; and Novant Health UVA Haymarket Medical Center in Prince William County.
The Virginia average percentages for top ratings in the 2021 survey were 70% for the first question and 69% for the second question (up 1% for the first question and unchanged for the second question from the 2020 survey). The national averages for the latest survey were 72% for the first question and 70% percent for the second, with the first question unchanged and the second question a percentage point lower than the previous year.
In the 2021 survey, data was unavailable from seven hospitals, including Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.
The service line reports in the charts below show consumers which hospitals are the market leaders in their regions in terms of patient discharges for a variety of procedures. VHI suggests that patients seek additional information about their options and needs from health care providers. Not all hospitals provide the same types of care.
VHI also publishes regional and statewide costs for dozens of services to help consumers compare expected costs. These and other details about Virginia hospitals and other health providers are available at vhi.org.