Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Be VERY Careful Which Hospital You Choose

The ninth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study reveals that treatment outcomes at U.S. hospitals vary widely depending on the state, city or individual hospital.

The report uses a star rating system that grades 28 categories of procedures or diagnoses, ranging from one star (the worst) to five stars (the best).

Patients have a 69 percent lower risk of dying at five-star hospitals than they do at one-star hospitals, and the difference between the best and worst hospitals has widened by 5 percent since last year's report.

HealthGrades analyzed more than 40 million Medicare records to assess the quality of care at over 5,000 hospitals for their report.

If all hospitals were five-star rated, the lives of over 300,000 Medicare patients could have been saved between 2003 and 2005.

Fifty percent of the preventable deaths were linked to heart failure, community-acquired pneumonia, blood infection or respiratory failure.

A patient undergoing coronary bypass surgery has a 72.9 percent lower risk of dying at a five-star hospital.

Problems at the less highly rated hospitals included poor in-house management systems, understaffing, and the use of doctors unskilled in particular procedures.

The Ninth Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study
Free Full PDF Report
Forbes.com October 16, 2006

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