Health Watch USA Logo  Healthcare Transparency Quality 

 Subscribe Newsletter
 Report an Incident Misson & Positions

HW USA is a 501C3
Non-Profit Organization
To Contact
Health Watch USAsm

please use the following
E-Mail Address:

"In the gap between excellence and perfection, there is suffering, harm, tragedy, and death."
-- Jim Conway

Finding out about the quality of your health care provider can be a difficult task.  However, it is in your best interest to find the best provider.

Nursing Care and Staffing
Hidden Health Care Quality
Hospital Rating Systems

Acute Care Hospital Quality   Nursing Home Quality  Physician Quality

#1  Acute Care Hospitals:  In Kentucky, patients can obtain very little information on hospital quality.  One of the most important factors in hospital quality is the number of registered nurses it has taking care of patients.   The only reason hospitals exist is to provide nursing care. 

Importance of Nursing Care
Pressure Sores & Ulcers

Meaningful measurements would include:  The incidence of development of bedsores and ulcers, the incidence of patient falls, infection rates and the number of nurses staffing the patient floors.    Kentucky does report hospital mortality rates and the volume of procedures.  These measurements are also affected by the skill and quality of the physicians who practice at the hospital.   

View US DHHS Hospital Compare:  US Treatment Protocols, Outcomes and Patient Survey Data  

View Hospital Comparisons on "Overall Patient Safety Ratings" and on the "Safety of Selected Procedures" . 

Kentucky Specific Websites:  Kentucky quality data can also be found on the KY CHFS website and as posted by the KY Hosp Association.

Other State Public Posting Sites

One safety check a patient should do is to ask the nurse taking care of you how many patients he/she is taking care of and if he/she is overworked.  According to  Aiken, L.H., et. al. (JAMA, 2002), if the nurse is taking care of 8 or more patients a dangerous situation may be present.   

#2. Quality of Nursing Homes: The US Department of Health and Human Services has an extensive website on quality measurements of nursing homes. This data includes the frequency of developing weight loss, pressure sores and ulcers, incidence of depression, anxiety and delirium, along with other measurements.  

In 2002, the US DHHS Nursing Home Compare website was criticized for having short-comings in a report prepared for Senator's Grassley and Waxman.    Download Report 

A guide for documenting and reporting patient abuse and neglect in nursing homes (but is also  applicable to other healthcare facilities) is available from the Kentucky Attorney General's Office.   Download  "A Guide For Taking Action Against Abuse and Neglect".

#3.  Quality of Physicians:   The public is starting to expect that their doctors meet minimum quality standards and follow "evidence based medicine".    Several reports have heightened this awareness.   In a massive study involving twelve metropolitan areas, McGynn et. al. (NEJM 2003) reported that recommended medical protocols for the prevention and treatment of medical conditions were only followed on average 55% of the time.   In addition, Boden et. al. (NEJM 2007) reported that as an initial management strategy in patients with stable coronary artery disease, the placement of coronary artery heart stents did not reduce the risk of death, heart attack, or other major cardiovascular events compared to just taking medical therapy.  The vast majority of coronary artery stents are placed in patients with stable coronary artery disease to prevent future illness.  However, the effectiveness of this expensive invasive procedure is now coming into question. 

Industry payments to doctors can be found at ProPublica:

Medical quality parameters for primary care physicians are available in a few areas of the nation through pilot projects of the Ambulatory Care Quality Alliance (AQA).     The states where data is available are listed below:

Other useful screening tools for selecting a physician are as follows:

Find out if your physician is board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialists.

ABMS Website

Visit your State Medical Board website.  Many states, including Kentucky post investigation reports, disciplinary actions and restrictions on a physician's medical license.

KY Medical Board

Perform a Google Search, this will often pull up severe infractions which make the news media.

Search Google