Healthgrades names top hospitals

262 hospitals make the grade of 4,500 rated
By Bernie Monegain
02:45 PM

Healthgrades, an online healthcare quality reporting group, released its list of 262 hospitals it calls the best when rated for risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates for 27 common procedures and conditions involving Medicare patients.

Healthcare information technology often plays a key role in the outcomes measured.

The hospitals, the top 5 percent of the nearly 4,500 graded by the group, posted mortality rates for 18 procedures and conditions from 2009 through 2011 that were 30.9 percent lower than those for all the others. If the remaining 95 percent of the hospitals had performed just as well during this period, more than 164,000 Medicare patients might not have died, according to a Healthgrades news release.

[See also: HealthGrades ranks top 50 hospitals for 2011.]

The hospitals receiving a Distinguished Hospitals Award for Clinical Excellence excel across the board, Healthgrades said in the release.

The 18 procedures and conditions that formed the basis of the mortality rate score include abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, coronary angioplasty and stenting, sepsis, pneumonia and pancreatitis. Healthgrades also weighed complication rates for procedures such as back and neck surgery, and knee and hip replacement.

The Clinical Excellence awards bestowed by Healthgrades are intended to help patients make an informed choice about where to get treated. "All hospitals are not created equal" notes Healthgrades.

[See also: HealthGrades defends its best hospital list.]

There are no award-winners in eight states and the District of Columbia. In six other states, less than 10 percent of eligible hospitals qualified for Clinical Excellence awards.

Table 1. States With Low Rates of 2013 Clinical Excellence Hospitals

State Number of Eligible Hospitals Number of Clinical Excellence Hospitals % of Eligible Hospitals
Alabama 26 0 0.0%
Alaska 2 0 0.0%
Arkansas 18 1 5.6%
District of Columbia 5 0 0.0%
Louisiana 26 1 3.9%
Maine 5 0 0.0%
Mississippi 18 0 0.0%
Nebraska 11 1 9.1%
Nevada 12 0 0.0%
Oregon 18 1 5.6%
Rhode Island 6 0 0.0%
South Carolina 24 1 4.2%
Texas 104 10 9.6%
Vermont 2 0 0.0%
West Virginia 10 0 0.0%

Source: Healthgrades.

Some states abound in Clinical Excellence hospitals. California has 44, roughly 32 percent of its eligible hospitals. Eight other states — Colorado, Delaware, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire and South Dakota — meet or surpass the 30 percent threshold.

Table 2. States with High Rates of Clinical Excellence Hospitals

State Number of Eligible Hospitals Number of Clinical Excellence Hospitals % of Eligible Hospitals
California 137 44 32.1%
Colorado 25 9 36%
Delaware 4 2 50%
Iowa 19 6 31.6%
Michigan 51 16 31.4%
Minnesota 19 6 31.6%
Montana 6 3 50%
New Hampshire 10 3 30%
South Dakota 3 1 33.3%

Source: Healthgrades.

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Sue Murphy, RN, chief experience and innovation officer, patient experience and engagement program, at The University of Chicago Medicine: "One thing we do in keeping senior leaders involved is send information to them in a very data-driven, date-based fashion, so they know they will see certain patient experience outcomes metrics, for example, between the 15th and the 18th of every month."