Report finds not all top hospitals are always top for surgery

Some of the “America’s Best Hospitals” do not always live up to their expectations or reputations when it comes to handling surgery according to a new report released. The Consumer Union (CU) Report used newly available federal government data to look at how patients fared after surgery at nearly 2,500 hospitals in 50 states. The report found some of the big name hospitals did not do well in preventing infections and other measures of quality care. Some busy urban hospitals that care for the poorest and sick patients often did surprisingly well.

The Consumer Union (CU) report figures state that patients going in for surgery care about many things from how kind are the nurses are and how the quality of food is. In addition, they care utmost is whether they stay in hospital longer and they should and whether they would come out alive. The CU also broke down detailed findings for five common procedures that included back surgery, hip and knee replacement, angioplasty to clear out clogged arteries of the heart and carotid artery surgery to unplug the neck artery.

This non-profit publisher of Consumer Union (CU) Reports magazine used two measures one rating is based on the percentage of Medicare patients who died in hospital during or after the surgery and the other rating based on percentage who stayed in the hospital longer than expected based on standards of care for their condition. The surprising pack of hospitals that emerged from these findings was the two of Washington D.C.’s flagship hospitals Med Star Washington Hospital Center and Sibley Memorial Hospital, both getting the poorest overall rating for patients receiving surgery. The John Hopkins Hospital that is associated with the one of America’s prestigious medical school only got an average rating.

The ratings would surely ignite a debate especially as many of the nationally renowned hospitals earned only mediocre ratings. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston one of the several hospitals associated with Harvard Medical School also got the poorest rating. As CU had only limited access to data, the rating also underline the difficulty patients have in finding objective information on the quality of care at a given facility. CU’s ratings are based on Medicare claims and clinical records data from 2009 to 2011 for about 86 types of surgery. These rates are adjusted to account for the fact that some hospitals treat older and sick patients and exclude data on patients who were transferred from other hospitals.

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