Consumer reports rates hospital systems; Which hospital should you use for your next surgery?

Consumer reports rates hospital systems; Which hospital should you use for your next surgery?

Consumer reports has rated hospitals based on their quality of experience and care for surgical procedures. When you require surgery, it is a large production with planning, down time and the hope that you will recover quickly without complication. Consumer reports even offers tips on how to avoid problems from post op.

What makes this interesting is that often the hospital with the great reputation (marketing plays a large part on their branding) may not be as good as your perception of them. You will also find this information helpful if you are exploring medical tourism in a different state to reduce your exposure to high medical costs. (read more about it here) Check this out, since all the states are rated.

Your safer-surgery survival guide

Our Ratings of 2,463 U.S. hospitals can help you find the right one

Published: July 2013

Showing the data

Surgery is scary. It usually involves having your body cut open, and sometimes things go wrong. You react badly to anesthesia, or suffer breathing or heart problems. Or maybe the surgeon nicks a blood vessel, leaves an instrument inside, or even operates on the wrong body part.

Less dramatic but often as serious and far more common is when things go wrong after you leave the operating room. Up to 30 percent of patients suffer infections, heart attacks, strokes, or other complications after surgery and sometimes even die as a result. That’s what happened to Marvin Birnbaum, a retired New York City court reporter, after he developed an infection following hip replacement surgery, his daughter Jacqueline says.

Perhaps scariest of all, though many hospitals now gather data on those problems, patients for the most part remain in the dark about surgical safety. Industry insiders have access to some of that information because hospitals track how well patients do and report results to state and national officials.

Plus, some hospitals submit data to national registries so that they can see how they stack up against one another. But that safety information remains largely hidden from patients.

“Consumers have very little to go on when trying to select a hospital for surgery, not knowing which ones do a good job at keeping surgery patients safe and which ones don’t,” says Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union’s Safe Patient Project. “They might as well just throw a scalpel at a dartboard.”

Our new surgery Ratings are part of an ongoing effort to shed light on hospital quality and to push the health care industry toward more transparency. “Because patients and their families shouldn’t have to make such important decisions with so little information,” McGiffert says.

What we measured

Our Ratings for the first time make public a measure that some hospitals now use to track quality—the percentage of Medicare patients undergoing surgery who die in the hospital or stay longer than expected.

We looked at results for 27 kinds of scheduled surgeries, which we combined into an overall surgery Rating, and also developed Ratings for five of those procedures: back surgery, replacements of the hip or knee, and procedures to remove blockages in arteries in the heart (angioplasty) or neck (carotid artery surgery).

To develop the Ratings, we worked with MPA, a health care consulting firm with expertise in analyzing medical claims and clinical records. This project uses billing claims that hospitals submitted to Medicare for patients 65 and older, from 2009 through 2011, and covers 2,463 hospitals in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

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