Winner 1984

Patterns of Practice


Nationwide there has been concern about the rising costs of hospital care. WCAX-TV in Burlington, Vermont undertook an investigation into substantial variations among the state’s 16 hospitals in the number of routine surgical operations and the length of hospital stays of the patients. When their data was analyzed the station discovered that some hospitals were operating much more efficiently than others. Growing out of this discovery was a 25-part series broadcast on weeknights during early 1984. Subsequently the State of Vermont became interested in this and began taking steps to follow through after the WCAX-TV investigation. Eventually the average length of hospital stays in Vermont declined by twenty percent and health insurers were able to reduce premiums. For rendering such an important service to all of the people of Vermont, a Peabody Award to WCAX-TV for Patterns of Practice.