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Consumer Reports’ first-ever Ratings of more than 400 hospitals can help patients find the right one
Yonkers, NY – Consumer Reports’ first-ever Ratings of hospitals for heart surgery finds some top-rated hospitals in surprising places, and that performance can vary widely—even at neighboring hospitals in the same geographic area.
The Ratings, which look at heart bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement surgery, cover more than 400 hospitals nationwide.
“It’s extremely difficult for consumers to find out which hospitals and surgeons have the best result with their specific heart procedure. But it shouldn’t be so hard,” said John Santa, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports Health. “Hospitals and doctors should make their information accessible and understandable, so families can make informed choices when they make life and death decisions.”Consumer Reports’ analysis found that top-rated hospitals often aren’t household names.
Of the more than 400 hospitals that make their data available to Consumer Reports, only 15 earned top scores in both heart-valve and bypass surgery.
Although the well-known Cleveland Clinic made the list, so did some less familiar hospitals, such as Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, MI, and Mother Frances Hospital-Tyler in Tyler, TX. Some are major medical centers, while others are smaller.
The full heart surgery ratings report is available online at Consumer Reports.org and in the August issue of Consumer Reports, on sale July 3rd.
Of the hospitals that shared their bypass data with us, 20 percent (83) were above average, 75 percent (310) were average, and 4 percent (18) were below average. Of the 247 hospitals with data on valve surgery, 10 percent (25) got a top score, 87 percent (216) a middle score, and 2 percent (6) the lowest one.
CR also found that performance can vary widely, even at neighboring hospitals. The organization found four metropolitan areas—Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Oklahoma City, and Portland, Oregon—where there are top and low-scoring hospitals, sometimes just miles apart.
The information in these heart surgery Ratings comes from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS), which represents physicians who operate on the heart and other organs in the chest. More than 1,000 U.S. hospitals report to the STS, but only about 400 of those facilities allowed the STS to share the data with Consumer Reports.
Certain famous hospitals are missing from the Ratings. Some examples include Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and Columbia-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell in New York City. Those hospitals aren’t included because they don’t share data with Consumer Reports, the STS, or both.
“All hospitals know this information,” Santa says. “Those that have agreed to share, especially those with low scores, should be applauded for their commitment to transparency. Those that haven’t shared should make it available. Otherwise, it seems like they have something to hide.”
The Ratings are based on the gold standard in tracking hospital performance: data from patients’ medical records showing whether patients survived the procedure and how they fared on other important measures, including complications. To create a level playing field, the data was adjusted for the health of patients because certain hospitals treat more older, sicker patients than others.
The 15 hospitals that earned a top score in both bypass and valve replacement surgery (in alphabetical order) are:
For Consumer Reports’ complete hospital Ratings, including the details behind the heart bypass surgery and aortic valve replacement surgery (such as ratings by hospital for survival and surgical complications), subscribers can visit: ConsumerReports.org/hospitalratings. For details on CR’s methodology, go to ConsumerReports.org/cro/howweratehospitals.
Tips to find a heart hospital
Consumer Reports also suggests six tips to help find a heart hospital:
Consumer Reports subscribers can see ratings for heart surgery groups at ConsumerReports.org/heartsurgerygroups
TopicsConsumer Reports, Heart, Heart Surgery, Hospitals, Insurance, Medicare, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, STS, Yonkers NY
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