Letters to the Editor, Opinions

Letter: Prospect Medical Holdings improves quality

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

To the Editor:

After reading the United Nurses and Allied Professionals union’s self-serving op-ed “Paxson’s Promotion of Prospect Medical Holdings Risks Poor Health Care for University” last week, as a Brown alum and Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc. executive, I am compelled to provide a number of missing facts and context that more accurately tell the story of Prospect’s commitment to quality, compassionate and efficient care to everyone in the communities we serve.

Much of the information presented in the union’s op-ed reflects considerable bias, misrepresents information and intentionally omits essential facts about Prospect.

Hospitals are among the most rigorously regulated businesses in the world. We have to comply with thousands of local, state and federal requirements. In order to meet these exacting standards, we constantly test ourselves and review our practices, often bringing in outside experts to help us identify opportunities for improvement.

Such was the case last year when we hired an outside professional as part of our intense quality-assurance program at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital. The consultant identified a potential issue with surgical equipment and issued a warning. The problem was corrected immediately. None of the equipment we inspected was ever used in an actual surgery, and no patient was ever at risk. In October 2017, the state of Rhode Island found that Our Lady of Fatima Hospital was in compliance with its standards.

In seeking to improve health care quality and efficiency, the federal government continually sets higher and higher standards for health  care providers. We welcome this challenge. It’s important to note that the difference between hospitals that receive incentives from the federal government and those that don’t can be a thousandth of a point. Our Rhode Island hospitals were among the 700 nationwide to be penalized for missing certain measurements as assessed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program. The survey used two-year-old data and calculations and did not reflect the significant improvements our Rhode Island facilities have made since they were acquired by Prospect.

Prospect is proud of our history of providing quality, efficient care in even the most underserved communities. We have turned around financially distressed hospitals in California. This process often requires making serious improvements to struggling quality performance as well. Surveys conducted during the turnaround process will reflect that work in progress. We have raised and are sustaining the financial, operational and quality performance of all of these facilities.

One of our success stories is our acquisition of Pennsylvania’s Crozer-Keystone Health System in July 2016. Prospect has pledged to contribute more than $100 million to benefit the system. Prospect is proud that the millions of dollars in taxes that the Crozer-Keystone hospitals now pay help support local communities and schools, while the system continues to provide charity care and health programs for the community.

We are equally proud of our story in Rhode Island: Prospect’s 2014 joint venture with CharterCARE Health Partners supports 3,000 good paying Rhode Island health care jobs.

Prospect will have invested, by the end of this year, $90 million in capital improvements to Roger Williams Medical Center and Fatima. Extensive facility renovations, creation of new clinical programs and acquisition of new medical technology have been made possible.

Since the onset of the joint venture, Fatima and Roger Williams have earned dozens of national quality recognitions from some of the toughest objective monitors of health care quality in America. Both hospitals recently received three-year reaccreditations from the Joint Commission, the industry’s gold-standard monitoring agency that the federal government relies on to certify quality.

Prospect is proud of the quality care our employees — many of whom are UNAP members — provide with compassion and efficiency to all of the communities we serve.

James Bennett ’79

Executive Vice President, Prospect Medical Holdings