Grayson County hospitals received new overall quality ratings this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which looked at an array of information to give a score based on a star scale.

Grayson County hospitals received new overall quality ratings this week from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which looked at an array of information to give a score based on a star scale.


Out of a possible five stars, Texoma Medical Center received two stars and Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center got a three-star rating. An overall rating was not available for the Texoma Medical Center in Bonham, but Alliance Health in Durant, Oklahoma, received a three-star rating, and the North Texas Medical Center in Gainesville received three stars.


The star ratings are posted on the federal Medicare website Hospital Compare for patients to review side-by-side information on health care providers. Bob Moos, CMS southwest regional public affairs officer, said the new overall rating summarizes data from 64 existing quality measures previously reported on the website.


"The star ratings are tying to give people just a snapshot of the overall quality at a particular institution," Moos said.


Tracy Masson, director of performance improvement for Wilson N. Jones, said the hospital was pleased with the rating, and it should help hospitals work toward increasing the quality of services they provide. In an email statement release earlier Friday, Masson said WNJ has a proven health care team, and the hospital focuses on preventing medical complications and improving health outcomes.


"It is reassuring to the community that this care can be provided by their local community hospital in a safe environment provided by people they know," Masson said in the email. "Our patients can have the confidence that they receive as good or better care than that provided by larger hospitals."


Officials with the Texoma Medical Center said in an email statement that they are committed to providing the highest quality health care, and they have been recognized for that quality by the Joint Commission, which named them as a top quality performer in 2012, 2013 and 2015.


"We are disappointed in the rating assigned to TMC and do not believe it accurately reflects the experiences of our patients nor the quality of care provided at Texoma Medical Center for the past 50 years," officials said in the email. "While we recognize the importance of patients and the community having access to information when making health care decisions, we believe the CMS methodology does not provide an accurate depiction of the quality of care at our hospital or others."


TMC said many major hospital organizations in the country disagree with the methodology behind the new star ratings. The officials said several preeminent hospitals across the country received the same rating as TMC, including the University of Virginia Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Tufts Medical Center in Boston and Geisenger Medical Center in Pennsylvania.


From 276 hospitals in Texas that were rated, 13 had five stars, 90 had four, 132 had three, 41 had two and no hospitals in the state received the lowest rating of one star. The five-star rated hospitals in North Texas included: Baylor Medical Center at Uptown in Dallas, the North Central Surgical Center in Dallas, The Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest in Fort Worth and the Heart Hospital Baylor in Plano.


Lance Lunsford, vice president for strategic communication of the Texas Hospital Association, said the rating system is arbitrary and is not truly relevant to consumers, adding the system does not reflect how consumers actually make decisions about health care. For something like a surgery, he said the patient might see a primary care physician, then be referred to a specialist, and that specialist could be operating out of multiple institutions.


"They have tons and tons of measures that they are looking at and this bundles them all up and loads them all up in one thing," Lunsford said. "If you look at the way hospitals work now, no one hospital equals the other."


Because hospitals are many times specialized and offer different services, he said one-on-one comparisons don’t really work. The hospitals of today are not a monolithic entity, but made of many moving parts, he said.


Moos said the star rating data will continued to be analyzed and updated every three months. As new measures are publicly reported, they will be incorporated, and old measures will be removed from the quality ratings. The website held much of the same data previously, but an overall score was present, he said. The ratings were based on scores in seven key areas: mortality, safety of care, re-admissions, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and efficient use of medical imaging.


"It isn’t the final word," Moos said. "It’s a system that can be refined over time. We feel confident with the accuracy of what’s up there today."


He said hospitals previously expressed concerns and they have worked closely with the industry to address those concerns. The ratings were originally to be published earlier this years, but the concerns voiced put a hold on it.


As the health care system continues to evolve, Masson said the system helps hospitals keep the consumer in mind and work toward a higher rating.


"I do think this survey does help compare different entities, and it helps hospitals to strive to work toward doing a better job," Masson said.