Unveiling White Rock Hospital's 1-Star Medicare Rating

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) a federal agency, recently named Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-White Rock, in Dallas, as one of the worst performing hospitals in America. 

The dubious 1-star ranking is based on 46 hospital quality measures that CMS uses to compare hospitals nationwide.

Only 248 hospitals nationwide received Medicare's 1-star designation. This Dallas hospital was one of only seven hospitals in Texas to be named to Medicare's 1-star list.

What's in a name?

The hospital that used to be known as Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-White Rock is located at 9440 Poppy Dr., Dallas, Texas 75218. The hospital's name and history over the last 50 years is complicated. I'll only tackle the last 10 years' worth.

Before a 2015 deal between Tenet Healthcare and Baylor Scott & White, the hospital was called Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake.

That deal didn't last long, though. The hospital has had two more names since California-based Pipeline Health bought it in 2018. With that deal, the hospital was once again independent and unaffiliated with none of the large Texas hospital systems.

After the deal, the hospital was called City Hospital at White Rock Lake, and more recently, in 2022, rebranded itself as White Rock Medical Center.

In October 2022, Pipeline Health, the hospital's owner announced it filed for bankruptcy protection, but it will still continue to operate.

White Rock Medical Center

According to the American Hospital Directory, the hospital has 151 staffed beds and offers inpatient, outpatient, emergency, and telehealth services.

The hospital advertises the services including bariatrics, cardiology, orthopedics, outpatient rehabilitation, and an emergency room and outpatient clinic.

1-star rating details

The most current Medicare ratings cover a time range of July 2018 to March 2022. During that time span, White Rock Medical Center operated under one of its many prior names, Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-White Rock.

Medicare's 1-star rating was a result of findings of the hospital's poor performance in these areas:

Sepsis care: Sepsis is an inflammatory response to infection. It can cause organ damage and can be life threatening. Only 43% of the hospital's patients studied received appropriate care for severe sepsis and/or sepsis shock. For reference, the average in Texas for all hospitals is 62%.

Heart failure patients: The hospital had more days than average for hospital returns for heart failure patients.

Pneumonia patients: The hospital had more days than average for hospital returns for pneumonia patients.

Patient complaints

Local news reporting has highlighted various complaints of quality of care at White Rock Medical Center (and its other names) over the years.

Some patients complained about the way emergency room patients were triaged. Emergency rooms are typically staffed with a triage nurse, who is trained and responsible for assigning emergency acuity levels and determining which patients need to get seen by a physician first.

A patient named Adrianne recalled taking her daughter to the hospital because she had a fever that she couldn't get under control. They waited at least seven hours before her daughter was seen, and when she was taken back to a patient room, she saw blood and chunks of hair that hadn't been cleaned up from the prior patient.

According to a patient named Kathy, an ambulance took her to the hospital because they thought she was having a stroke. Kathy talked about how she was left on a gurney in a hallway for several hours before any tests were performed. After hospital stay, she faced months of physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which she believes was required because of the delay in treating 
her stroke.

Getting quality of care

There are some things that patients and family members can do to improve their safety when seeking treatment at White Rock Medical Center or, for that matter, any hospital.

Know who's treating you. These days, it's often difficult to know if you are being treated by a fully-trained physician, a physician in training (resident or fellow), nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. Some healthcare providers have advanced degrees and are called “Doctor,” even though they aren't physicians. 

It's always fair to ask new people involved in your care and treatment what their role is and their position. You also always have the right to ask to be seen by a fully-trained physician.

Be an advocate or a squeaky wheel. Hospitals are busy places. Doctors, nurses, and other health professionals have a lot of patients to see. Sometimes they're rushed and can miss important information from patients, or don't receive it from outgoing providers when there's a shift change. Sometimes important information can slip through the cracks and it can negatively influence the plan of care.

You can combat this by advocacy, either from yourself or a trusted friend or family member who's with you. Ask polite questions. Ask if lab results are in and what they mean. Ask if radiology results are complete and what they mean. Ask for an explanation of the plan of care. Inquire about any concerns.

Don't be passive. If you feel like key care or treatment is being overlooked, ask for help. You have the right to ask to see the charge nurse or nursing supervisor. Professional nurses have training and responsibility to advocate on behalf of their patients, which can include utilizing the chain of command to obtain necessary patient care.

Question unsafe discharge. In handling medical malpractice cases in Dallas, Houston, and Oliver Texas, I've seen numerous instances when patients were discharged with exactly the same problems (or worse) that they sought treatment for the first place.

This brings to mind a woman who slipped and fell, and was brought to the hospital because the emergency medical service (EMS) that she might have a broken neck. When she came into the hospital, she couldn't move her extremities normally. Yet, after a few hours, the emergency physician and nursing staff. Her family had to physically lift her if she was essentially deadweight. A few days later, different facility, they learned that she had broken her neck. Because the delay in diagnosis and treatment, though, her impairments and disabilities are now permanent.

If you're being discharged in it doesn't make sense, ask to speak with a physician and explain your concerns. If you're not satisfied, ask for a second opinion or to see the charge nurse.

If you've been seriously injured because of poor care at White Rock Medical Center, or any hospital in Texas, then contact a top-rated, experienced Texas medical malpractice attorney for a free consultation about your potential case.

Article by

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.