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How Grumpy Patients Can Cost Hospitals Big Bucks

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, January 20, 2011

As Premier's Blair Childs suggests, this is bound to be a hot topic of debate. "This is a concern and we have to look carefully from the vantage point of the data, to see how fair this is, and to ask what is fair," he says.

By the way, Mrs. Hufnagel was not a patient in New York Hospital. The TV series' imaginary hospital was located in South Boston, in a region with the highest patient satisfaction responses, according to the Press Ganey survey.

And maybe she had a right to be unhappy. After all, in that show, she died in St. Elegius when the folding bed she was lying in collapsed in a V and suffocated her.

It's going to be an interesting exercise to see if there is a grumpiness culture that pervades these three Northeastern states, and to a lesser degree others along the eastern and western seaboards more than the rest of the nation. But absent any definitive findings, I'm with Kaufman.

Maybe these lower-scoring hospitals should just try harder.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "How Grumpy Patients Can Cost Hospitals Big Bucks"


Jean Budding (2/4/2011 at 2:07 PM)
I agree with Nate Kaufman. Iowa hospitals have been paid unfairly. -Tweener hospitals are reimbursed lower than most hospitals in the nation. The big states didn't care when our reimbursement was 65% of cost. We have great patient scores. And, based on personal experience in Arizona, we have excellent care.

Richard Buchler (1/25/2011 at 5:12 PM)
We have to be careful that we don't make decisions based on opinions versus facts. The only fact in this story is that hospitals in these regions receive lower scores on patient satisfaction. There may be a large population of inherently unhappy people in these regions, but nothing in the original Press Ganey report nor this article supports that conclusion. It is just as likely that those hospitals provide care that is less satisfying to patients than hospitals in the rest of the country.