For 23 years, I worked in Pittsburgh while living in Wheeling. I am no stranger to defending my town and state against the evils of misleading polls, surveys and "public data." For 31 years, I worked in the chemical industry. I understand that monopolistic entities often do not operate in the best interest of the customer that they serve. For 25 years, I have been a member of St. Michael's Parish and a patient and volunteer at OVMC. And that is what brings me to speaking out on the recent article regarding patient safety scores on our local hospital facilities. You know, the one where Wheeling Hospital said they got an "A," while everyone else in the area received a C, D or F. Front page news on June 11, 2014.
I am gravely concerned about the message that Wheeling Hospital's CEO, Ron Violi, is sending. He is implying that my decision to have OVMC as my health care provider is a poor one. "The Leapfrog Group is one of the oldest and most prestigious in the country when it comes to rating quality care in hospitals," Violi said. "They've been doing this forever ... They are very, very tough on the way they grade."
What if I told you that I looked them up on the Internet? They came into existence in November 2000. In my book, that is a mere teenager. What if I also told you that Dr. Charles Denham, chairman of Leapfrog's Safe Practices Committee, has recently been accused by the U.S. Justice Department of taking $11.6 million in kickbacks for his influence in setting care guidelines? He has since resigned from his position.
Leapfrog's website states that results are based on surveys submitted by hospitals and that they are voluntary. So, OVMC voluntarily submitted their inferior performance? Really? I think the people of the Ohio Valley need more credit than that.
What I do know is that OVMC has an outstanding core of nurses, an impeccably clean facility, an private patient rooms to minimize infection. I prefer this over hand sanitizers at the door. Every grocery store in this country now has these devices when you walk in, but I wouldn't want surgery in the meat department. Simply stated, OVMC is not an F in patient safety. We all know how data can be used and misused to send an intended message. I also know that I want two high-performing medical facilities to serve my needs.
During my 31-year career, I spent 7-plus directly serving our customers. My employer had an unwritten understanding not to "bad mouth" the competition. It was deemed unprofessional, at best. Furthermore, there was enough business in the marketplace for everyone to make a good living. For that reason, I am so disappointed in Wheeling Hospital's behavior. With all of the baby boomers coming of age for new knees, hips, hearts and colonoscopies, surely the area is best served with two hospitals.
My mother always said, "If you can't say anything nice about somebody, then don't say it at all." After all, those kinds of things boil down to one opinion against another.
Hey, did you see the recent survey that listed West Virginia as ... ? Sorry Mom, you taught me better than that.