Hospital Compare helps reporter fact check claims

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism, and he has blogged for Covering Health ever since.

After the local county commission voted to close Birmingham’s Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and replace it with a hub-and-spoke system of distributed care, protesters began to rally around the institution, claiming that its closure would hit poor residents hard, and that the hospital had earned some of the highest patient satisfaction numbers in the nation.

When WBHM’s Tanya Ott heard talk of patient satisfaction ratings, she took the simple step of firing up Hospital Compare and seeing how Cooper Green stacked up against local competitors. As it happens, Cooper Green has, in recent years, lagged behind the hospitals to which its patients would likely be diverted.

So, with just a few clicks, Ott, who posted the Hospital Compare charts directly into her story, brought important context to a contentious local issue. For more on how to use this and other tools to evaluate local hospitals, see AHCJ’s Hospital Compare resources.