HOUSTON, Mo. -- They're headlines made to grab your attention, like “The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in America or “The 11 Worst Companies to Work for.” They may be a good read until you make the list.
“It’s very discouraging,” said Texas County Memorial Hospital Public Relations Director Joleen Durham.
That's what happened to a small rural hospital in Texas County. Health.com published an article on the 25 worst hospitals in the United States; Texas County Memorial comes in at 15th.
“We have good rating according to the agencies we have to report to so it's discouraging to have this come out and put us on the list,” Durham said.
The actual study was done by a company called Leapfrog. It claims to grade hospitals on infection rates, medical error, and injuries.
The list names the hospitals that received and “F” rating.
“We don't feel like it's an accurate description of what goes on inside our facility,” Durham said.
Hospital officials say Leapfrog doesn't have all the information and that penalized them.
To provide that extra information, the hospital would have to pay thousands of dollars to the company.
"It's very expensive and we'd rather spend that money on patients,” said Durham.
Hospital officials are angry and afraid of losing those patients because of the list.
But people we talked to stand behind them.
“I had a good experience there. The people were nice,” said Houston resident Rachel Wade.
Texas County Memorial Hospital staff say they work hard to make a good name for themselves.
“In addition to a great facility we have great people who care about the people they take care of,” Durham said.
And that's how they want the headline to read.
Officials at Leapfrog, the company that did the study, didn't agree to an official interview, but did say there are no guarantees that a hospital that pays to participates will score better.
The Texas County Hospital says if you want a true comparison of how they rate there are a few websites that are trusted in the medical community that have all the data. They are: www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov and www.missourihealthmatters.com.
Editor's note: Since we published our story, we've received additional information from both Texas County Memorial Hospital and LeapFrog. TCMH says they've provided additional information to Leapfrog which should change the score they received. They point out Leapfrog charges a fee to hospitals wishing to use the score. TCMH says the "F" rating was applied because they did not participate in a LeapFrog survey, which they are not required to do, and because they are a rural hospital.
Leapfrog says the score they provide is based solely on data provided by the the U.S. Government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Hospitals are required to provide this data to CMS for every Medicare and Medicaid patient. Leapfrog says they have removed the "F" grade and changed it to "SP" for Score Pending while they review communications between TCMH and CMS, which TCMH provided them.