Carson Caulfield / Staff Writer
The greater Birmingham Area is a booming medical landscape, filled with a surplus of long-standing hospitals and medical professionals.
While the abundance of medical care is certainly a positive to living in the iron city, it is important to know what each has to offer. Luckily, performance and safety ratings are made very transparent to the public through the HCAHPS survey, a national patient satisfaction survey required by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid services.
Along with the HCAHPS, Dr. Kim Davey was asked about her assessment of these four hospitals. Dr. Davey is an associate professor and director of the undergraduate public health program in the School of Public Health at Samford. She also teaches, and has professional experience with, the field of healthcare administration.
“Finding a hospital as a Samford student is much like finding a church community,” said Davey. “Doing your homework, doing your research, and looking at the quality metrics is all important. You’ve got to find the one that’s the right fit for you.”
Grandview Medical Center
Grandview is one of the newer healthcare centers to the city of Birmingham. It currently has 402 beds, and is located just off of Highway 280, five miles from campus.
According to their website, Grandview offers “diverse specialties from heart care to labor and delivery to robotic-assisted surgery.,” Their specialty units include a Level III trauma center, certified Chest Pain Center, recognized stroke center, cardiac cath lab and neonatal, and surgical and medical intensive care.
Their proximity to campus makes Grandview a good option in emergency situations. They might not have the esteemed reputation of the other hospitals regarding surgery and longer term care, but it definitely should be a viable option in many situations.
82% of those who visited Grandview say that they would definitely recommend Grandview to others. That is 12% higher than the national average.
UAB Hospital, located in downtown Birmingham, is known as the largest hospital in the state of Alabama. It has a total of 1,157 beds and nearly 15,000 employees in total.
According to their website, UAB is “a major center for clinical research and the home of some of the top medical programs in America.” The numbers seem to prove it. UAB has consistently been nationally recognized for their excellence in research and physician excellence.
A couple of details might make UAB one of the least viable options for emergency treatment. The main UAB campus is approximately 6.5 miles away from Samford, which is farther than any other of the other hospitals mentioned. Because of their size and popularity, which sees over 60,000 ER visits annually, their wait time might be longer than others.
Even with their notable volume, UAB’s customer satisfaction should not be overlooked. 83% of visitors said they would recommend the hospital and 79% of patients would rate it a nine or 10 out of 10.
Another long-standing Birmingham hospital is St. Vincent’s. The faith-based institution has 409 beds in their Birmingham location, and is only 4.5 miles away from Samford.
Their website describes the hospital as “specializing in medical services including oncology, cardiology, women’s and children’s services, orthopedics/sports medicine, neurology, community/corporate wellness services, and surgical services.”
St. Vincent’s high-standing reputation mostly refers to their variety of specialty services, such as cardiology and orthopedic surgery. Their emergency department is not as highly regarded, and also averages a 38 minute wait time. St. Vincents is an excellent spot for hospital-based specialty care and surgeries, but probably not a Samford student’s best bet for an emergency room visit.
Brookwood Baptist Hospital
Brookwood Baptist is a smaller, 400 bed hospital that sits only 1.8 miles away from Samford in Homewood.
Their Birmingham location is one of five hospitals associated with Brookwood Baptist Health. This location has not done well as of recently in the eyes of the HCAHPS survey. Only 70% of those who took the survey said they would recommend Brookwood, which is the lowest out of any of the four hospitals discussed.
Brookwood might be a viable option for those seeking brief and urgent emergency care, specifically because of its proximity to campus. If possible, it would be best to visit another local hospital if the situation presents itself, especially for specialty services.