Tuesday, September 4, 2007

How Good a Hospital is LICH ?

How good is the Long Island College Hospital from the point of view of the patients that it serves ?

Here is my short answer: I think it's good, but I am not sure.

The Department of Health in Albany publishes grades for hospitals in the state, broken down by several dimensions. Readers should study these materials themselves on the site of the Health Department. But the matter is highly technical and without interpretation by experts, these data may be misleading.

I gave the matter only a preliminary study. Moreover, I have no expertise in interpreting public health statistics, so my impressions may be wrong.

The site, as far as I can see, has four areas that give meaningful information about LICH performance when compared to averages for the state.

1) Overall performance related to heart failure conditions.
LICH gets a grade of 94.58, as compared to 91.35 for the state average. This would seem to be an excellent performance by LICH. Columbia-Presbyterian gets 94.45, about the same as LICH.

2) Overall performance related to pneumonia care.
LICH gets 74.64, with a state average of 87.77. LICH does not seem to be doing very well here. On the other hand, Columbia-Presbyterian is worse than LICH, with a grade of 70.47. So -- I am guessing -- for a city hospital, LICH seems to be doing well, even though it falls short of the state average.

3) Heart attack care.
Hospitals in the state seem to do very well in this category. LICH gets 97.06, Columbia-Presbyterian 97.30, with a state average of 95.28.

4) Overall grade related to Surgical Infection Prevention.
This area, at least on the surface, may well be reason for concern for LICH patients. LICH is given a score of 77.13, the statewide average is 80.11, and Columbia-Presbyterian gets 80.77.
Do we need to worry ? I really don't know. But LICH may very well wish to explain its score here, and, indeed, explain its other scores as well.

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