About Amy Umble:
Amy Umble is health reporter for The Free Lance-Star

RSS feed of this blog

Fauquier again leads all area hospitals in pleasing patients

Fauquier Hospital is again the top scorer among area hospitals in the latest Medicare survey of patient satisfaction.

Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton.

The 97-bed Warrenton hospital equaled or exceeded the state and national averages in all 10 of the areas surveyed. No other area hospital came close to that performance.

Mary Washington Hospital was below the averages in all 10 areas. Stafford Hospital was below in seven of 10 areas. The Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center is too new to be included in the survey.

Fauquier officials say that the key to their success is that they place the patient at the center of all they do. Also, they hire employees who buy-in to what they’re doing. Put simply, it’s an obsession with making patients happier, and because of that, healthier.

“It really goes to the culture of the organization. It’s part of who we are,” said Julie Fainter, strategic services manager at Fauquier, yesterday in a phone interview.

Fainter defines the hospital’s culture as “that intangible thing that you feel when you go into an institution.”

It is a top-down insistence, she said, that staff members do all they can to meet patients’ needs.

“It’s a different way of doing things,” she said. “It’s like a small-town way of doing things. It’s the way you would want your family member to be treated if they were in an unfamiliar place.”

Fainter cited the example of one patient who said in a survey form that the hospital’s food was the worst part of his stay there. The cafeteria director learned of this and invited the man and his wife to return for a specially prepared meal at the hospital’s expense. The man and his wife accepted the invitation.

“They were just  thrilled,” she said.

The 10-question federal survey was first published in 2008 and is updated quarterly. It is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and asks patients to rate their recent hospital stays. The newest version was posted on Medicare’s “Hospital Compare” website on April 11.

(The survey results for all hospitals can be found here . A November 2010 newspaper story about Fauquier Hospital can be found here. Yesterday’s blog on how Mary Washington and Stafford hospitals did in the new Medicare survey can be seen here.)