By LENORE RUTHERFORD
In a patient survey rating hospitals throughout California, Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital in San Andreas fared better than Tuolumne General Hospital or Adventist Health's Sonora Community Hospital in Sonora.
Patients rated all three Mother Lode hospitals as "average" for overall care and whether they would recommend them. However, Mark Twain St. Joseph's got above-average ratings in seven of the survey's 13 categories, while Tuolumne General and Sonora Community were rated average in every category.
Mark Twain's above-average ratings were for the overall hospital experience, respect for patient preferences, coordination of care, information and education, physical comfort and emotional support.
"We are very pleased with our results from the survey," said Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital President Mike Lawson. "It is nice to get this kind of feedback, but we also see opportunities to improve."
All three hospitals got average ratings for how they helped patients handle the transition from hospital to home, and Sonora Community and Mark Twain St. Joseph's earned average ratings from maternity patients. Tuolumne General Hospital doesn't offer maternity services.
None of the three hospitals received below-average ratings in any part of the survey conducted by the California Institute for Health Systems Performance and California Healthcare Foundation.
"This was a pretty comprehensive evaluation process," said Phyllis Manford, director of risk management at Tuolumne General Hospital. "Of course we always want to see ourselves as very much above average, especially when it comes to caring, but this gives us a chance to network with other hospitals to improve performance and the way we meet patients' expectations."
This is the first year Tuolumne General has participated in the survey, she said, and the hospital is looking forward to follow-up discussions organized by California Healthcare Foundation.
The discussions are intended to find ways to improve the ratings of all the hospitals involved, she said.