Hospital Quality Correlated with Your Chance of Death

Hospital Quality Correlated with Your Chance of Death

A new study shows that hospital treatment outcomes vary widely depending on which hospital provides the care.

The ninth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study found that patients are 69% more likely to die at a “1-star” hospital than they are at a “5-star” facility.

Since last year’s report, this gap between the outcomes of procedures performed in different Medicare hospitals has increased by roughly 5 percent, while hospital death rates have gone down about 8 percent on the whole.

The report by the independent health care ratings group HealthGrades assessed care quality at roughly 5,000 hospitals. The report gave hospitals ratings based on their performance. They were 1-star (“poor”), 3-star (”as expected”), and 5-star (“best”). These ratings are based on hospital procedure outcomes, and take into account the risk of death, or serious procedure complications.

“Across 28 conditions, like heart failure, and heart attack, and procedures, like bypass surgery, knee replacement, etc., there is a large variation between hospitals,” said the study’s author, Dr. Samantha Collier. “Some of these differences can be quite large – up to 90 percent.”

The study found that patients who undergo a coronary bypass surgery were 72.9 percent more likely to die if the procedure was performed in a 1-star hospital compared with a 5-star hospital. Over 5,000 lives would have been saved between 2003 and 2005 if all Medicare-covered coronary bypass patients had them performed at 5-star hospitals.

Other Study Facts:
· 302,000 Medicare patients’ lives could have been saved between 2003 and 2005 if all hospitals were up to 5-star rating standards.
· On average, there is a 49 percent lower risk of dying in a 5-star hospital compared with even a 3-star, “as expected” hospital.
· 5-star hospitals showed more improvement in treatment quality over time than 3- and 1-star hospitals.
· 50% of preventable deaths in hospitals were linked to heart failure, community-acquired pneumonia, respiratory failure, heart failure, and sepsis.

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