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Disagreement on whether hospital survey makes the grade

RE “MASS. hospitals receive top marks: Quality group grades facilities across country” (Metro, June 6): We believe your article and chart about hospital ratings to be misleading for readers when it comes to the serious task of choosing a hospital. Many hospitals, including ours, have chosen not to participate in the Leapfrog Group survey because it heavily bases its so-called grades on information that can neither be verified nor audited. What’s more, the survey leaves much room for variation and interpretation by those who do respond.

In its survey, Leapfrog appears to use information from outdated surveys or gives different weights to the public information it does have. And it is hard to have confidence in a study that also gets easily verifiable details wrong, such as the town in which one of our hospitals is sited.

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We value transparency and encourage consumers to review reputable, qualified rating services, such as HealthGrades and Consumer Reports. Quick checks at both those locations show that Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, and Tobey Hospital in Wareham all rank at or near the top in category after category.

We encourage patients to compare findings from various sources before delivering a final grade.

Keith A. Hovan

President and CEO

Southcoast Health System

and Southcoast Hospitals Group

Robert J. Caldas

Chief medical officer

Southcoast Hospitals Group

New Bedford

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