While the U.S. is taking on health care reform, HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings organization, is keeping track of which hospitals fall into the top tier when it comes to low mortality rates.
HealthGrades named America's 50 Best Hospitals for 2010 in its annual report, which examined objective patient outcomes over three years at all 5,000 of the nation's nonfederal hospitals.
Their research found the 50 Best Hospitals had mortality rates that were, on average, 27 percent lower than other hospitals.
HealthGrades points out that its list was not based on hospital quality or reputation or other subjective measures.
According to the annual report, hospitals must have had risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates that were in the top 5 percent in the nation for the most consecutive years, indicating sustained, outstanding patient outcomes. (Individuals can see whether their local hospitals are among the 50 Best at HealthGrades.com.
"These hospitals are setting national benchmarks for excellence in clinical quality, and as we continue to debate health care reform, they should stand as institutions to be learned from and emulated," said Dr. Rick May, a HealthGrades vice president and an author of the report.
Which states made the cut?
Seventeen states have at least one instititution that made HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals list. They are Arizona (2), California (3), Colorado (1), Florida (9), Georgia (1), Illinois (3), Indiana (1), Kentucky (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (3), Missouri (1), New Jersey (1), Ohio (9), Pennsylvania (7), Tennessee (1), Texas (3) and Virginia (2).
Other HealthGrades' Findings:
The fourth annual report compared the HealthGrades America's 50 Best Hospitals with all others and found:
• If all hospitals performed at the level of the HealthGrades America's 50 Best, 164,964 deaths and 18,900 inhospital complications could have potentially been prevented among the Medicare population over the three years studied.
• Compared with all other hospitals, the HealthGrades America's 50 Best had risk-adjusted mortality rates that were, on average, 26.96 percent lower and risk-adjusted in-hospital complication rates that were 8.29 percent lower.
• For some procedures and treatments, the variation was much wider. For treatment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, the 50 Best hospitals had, on average, had a 44.52 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality, and for treatment of Pneumonia the 50 Best hospitals had, on average, 40.25 percent lower risk adjusted mortality.
Mortality and Complication Rates:
For this analysis, mortality or complication rates were evaluated for the following 26 procedures and treatments:
• Back and Neck Surgery (Spinal Fusion)
• Back and Neck Surgery (except Spinal Fusion)
• Bowel Obstruction
• Carotid Surgery
• Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
• Coronary Bypass Surgery
• Coronary Interventional Procedures (Angioplasty and Stents)
• Diabetic Acidosis and Coma
• Gastrointestinal Bleed
• Gastrointestinal Surgeries and Procedures
• Heart Attack
• Heart Failure
• Hip Fracture Repair
• Peripheral Vascular Bypass
• Pulmonary Embolism
• Resection/Replacement of Abdominal Aorta
• Respiratory Failure
• Total Hip Replacement
• Total Knee Replacement
• Valve Replacement Surgery
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