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Report: Two Westchester Hospitals Rank Low In Safety

VALHALLA, N.Y. – Some hospital patients in Westchester might not be receiving care that's as safe as they may think, according to a Consumer Reports study that analyzed the safest hospitals in the nation and found that two county hospitals scored poorly.

In the ratings released last week, Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla scored 25 out of 100 on the safety rating scale, and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers scored a 26. Of the hospitals studied in New York, only Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn and Harlem Hospital Center scored lower.

“New Yorkers often assume that they have access to some of the best health care in the world,” said John Santa, M.D., director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center in a February report . “And in some ways they do, with many leading physicians and state-of-the-art facilities in the area. But our analysis suggests that, when it comes to patient safety, New Yorkers often receive sub-standard care.”

The Consumer Reports ratings looked at four factors when determining their safety ratings: spread of infections in the hospital, patient re-admission, medication instructions, and electronic data systems. The ratings took into account data and surveys collected by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

David Billig, a spokesperson with the Westchester Medical Center, released a statement Monday that said the data does not take into account various outside factors that may skew the ratings.

“These rankings do not always recognize the current facts or variable dynamics associated with a facility like Westchester Medical Center,” Billig said, explaining that the hospital is “A regional trauma center and largely a receiving hospital accepting patients who have already been treated elsewhere and deemed too critical for other organizations.”

Dean Civitello, a spokesperson with Saint Joseph’s Medical Center, refuted the results of the Consumer Reports study.

“We believe strongly that this report does not reflect the level of care that is delivered every day at the Saint Joseph’s Medical Center,” Civitello said in a statement.

In data released in May 2012 by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, both Westchester Medical Center and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center scored in line with the New York State and national averages in almost every category for patient-care measures.  However, in a patient-experience survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human services, Westchester Medical Center and Saint Joseph’s Medical Center both scored lower than the New York State and national average in nearly all ten questions.

Both medical centers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the patient-experience survey data.

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