GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Four hospitals in the Cone Health Hospital system earned five out of five stars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This is an easy way for potential patients to identify the quality of care at a certain hospital at a glance.

However, one hospital earned two out of five stars -- Alamance Regional Medical Center.

Cone Health tells us these ratings are based on stats from year's past.

The ratings take a look at a number of criteria including mortality rate, readmission rates, and effectiveness of care.

"They're typically looking at older data, dating back to 2014-16, so there is some evidence that in those years Alamance had room to improve," said Dr. Bruce Swords, the Chief Medical Officer for Cone Health.

We asked Dr. Swords about which areas Alamance Regional needs to work on to boost the rating back up.

Swords said, when evaluating mortality for instance -- the ratings look at a few specific sicknesses like pneumonia.

So, Alamance Regional created specific teams dedicated to diagnosing pneumonia, and treating it quickly, before it gets out of hand.

Swords says at the end of the day, the ratings are important but the hospital's top priority deals with patients, and their well-being.

"We are not committed to being ranked high, that is not what drives us. Our commitment is to patient care, and delivering extraordinarily good patient care. We want patients to have a great experience with great outcomes," said Swords.

Dr. Swords also says since the ratings are delayed by a few years, this gives them an opportunity.

Hospital leaders tell doctors and nurses the work they do today impacts the community's outlook on the hospital years down the road.

As for the rating, Swords is confident Alamance Regional will receive an improved rating next year.

The measurements are made up of several criteria including:

  • Mortality (Death rate in seven conditions.)
  • Safety of care (How well infections are avoided.)
  • Readmission rates (Avoiding unplanned return visits to the hospital.)
  • Patient experience (Variables from understanding the doctor and nurse to willingness to recommend hospital to others.)
  • Effectiveness of care (Were people with heart attack, stroke and other conditions treated quickly and correctly?)
  • Timeliness of care (How quickly people were treated in the emergency room.)
  • Efficient use of medical imaging (Making sure expensive MRIs and CT scans are done only when appropriate.)