Chief Operating Officers, Public Relations Directors, Chiefs of Staff
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TO: Chief Executive Officers DATE: March 28, 2005 SUBJECT: Hospital Compare Web Site to Launch April 1; Media Expected to Contact Hospitals Regarding Quality Data SUGGESTED Chief Operating Officers, Public Relations Directors, Chiefs of Staff, ROUTING: Medical Directors, Directors of Quality Improvement and Risk Management, Community Relations Directors, Chief Financial Officers The US Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has set the official launch of the Hospital Compare Web site for this Friday, April 1. The site will make helpful information on hospital quality available to the general public and is an outcome of the Hospital Quality Alliance, a public-private partnership among hospitals, government and other health care organizations. The consumer Web site at www.HospitalCompare.hhs.gov will be accessible after noon on Friday. Earlier this month, the MHA sent a Hospital Quality Initiative toolkit to MHA-member public relations, quality improvement, and risk management directors for use in preparing for questions from the local media about Michigan facilities’ involvement in this collaborative effort. In addition, the American Hospital Association, in collaboration with the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Federation of American Hospitals, has provided a Quality Advisory that includes additional materials and tools to help hospitals prepare media events, answer media inquiries about quality of care, define their institutions as providers of quality care, and emphasize their accountability to the public. The Quality Advisory provides a communications checklist, major themes, and a list of frequently asked questions to help quality teams and public relations staffs prepare for Friday’s launch of the public site. Critical access hospitals and other small or rural facilities should take special note of the information provided under FAQ #8 regarding the manner in which data for hospitals with small numbers of cases are conveyed on the site. By separating data on hospitals that treat large numbers of patients from the data on facilities with small numbers of cases, the report will help the public realize that making direct performance comparisons between hospitals with small and large sample sizes is not useful in choosing a health care provider. For supplemental materials or to discuss your organization’s public relations strategy, contact Sherry Mirasola or Linda Dicks at the MHA. Questions on the data and technical aspects of the report may be directed to Sam Watson at the MHA.