Monday, March 31, 2014

Consumer Reports ranks hospitals for safety

How safe is your hospital? Consumer Reports released its hospital ratings, ranking Miles Memorial Hospital in the small town of Damariscotta, Maine, as the country's safest and Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland, Miss,. as the least safe hospital in the U.S. The ratings come on the heels of a study published last year in the Journal of Patient Safety that found that 440,000 deaths occur each year in U.S. hospitals because of a medical error.

Ratings were determined based on "patient outcomes (avoiding infections, readmissions, avoiding mortality, and adverse even ts in surgical patients), patient experience (including communication about hospital discharge, communication about drug information and other measures), and hospital practices (appropriate use of scanning, and use of electronic health records)," Consumer Reports says. Those measures were then combined for a safety score from 1 to 100. Miles Memorial received a 78, while Bolivar Medical Center got an 11. Rankings by state, city and county are available by clicking here (subscription may be required).

Bolivar isn't alone in its poor ranking. The average overall score of the more than 4,000 hospitals ranked was 51, and 43 hospitals scored below 30. John Santa, M.D., medical director of Consumer Reports Health, said, “It is unacceptable that so many hospitals are doing so poorly, especially since our ratings show that some hospitals can do a good job at keeping patients safe.” (Read more)

To read how Consumer Reports rated hospitals click here. To read the Consumer Reports Health report on the rankings click here.

UPDATE, April 4: There are many forms of hospital rankings, some done with questionable business practices such as "licensing fees" they get from hospitals, notes Pia Christensen of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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