America's Best and Worst Hospitals

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Death rates for heart attack and heart failure patients in the U.S. vary significantly from hospital to hospital. This is according to the most comprehensive study of its kind released Thursday by Medicare researchers. Over one million patients at over 4,600 hospitals were surveyed.

Based on data from government statistics, the report found:

  • The average 30-day death rate for heart attack was 16.6 percent and the average rate of heart attack readmission was 19.9 percent.

  • The average 30-day death rate for heart failure was 11.1 percent and 24.4 percent for readmission.

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    WebMD: Tips for Choosing a Hospital

    Top 3 Hospitals with Lowest Heart Attack Death Rates

    Heart Hospital Of Austin,(TX) -- 10.9%
    New York-Presbyterian (NY )-- 11.1%
    NYU hospital Center (NY) -- 11.1%


    CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes reports that the care can very widely. At the Heart Hospital of Austin in Texas, only 10.9 percent of patients died from their heart attacks compared to 24.9 percent at Southwest Mississippi Regional in McComb.

    "This suggests that patients' outcomes are dependent, at least in part, on the hospital that provides their care," Krumholz said in an American Heart Association press release.

    "Not only do one out of 5 patients come right back into the hospital but most have never seen a doctor from the time of release to the time they come back. That's not good medical care," said Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services.

    The government put all the data online, so patients can see how their hospital stacks up on everything from nursing care to blood clot treatments-and hospitals can see how they measure up to their competitors.

    Patients should also consider doctor recommendations, distance and insurance coverage when choosing a hospital.

    CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton said, "all hospitals might not be equally good or bad at everything. So if you have a choice, you might want to go to one hospital for a hip replacement but choose another for your breast biopsy."

    Dr. Ashton said the ratings are a big part of the equation. "But you want to find a good doctor you trust who works with a great nursing staff who can give you personalized attention that might be at a big hospital, that also might be at a smaller community hospital."
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