For a related story, see rankings on hospitals for weight-loss surgery.
Patients have a 70% higher chance of dying at the nation's lowest-rated hospitals than at the best ones, according to the 11th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study, issued Tuesday by HealthGrades (HGRD), an independent health care ratings organization.
From 2005 to 2007, 237,420 Medicare patients' deaths could have been prevented if all hospitals performed at the level of five-star-rated hospitals, said the study, which took into account 17 procedures and conditions. That represents 12% of all Medicare patient deaths. Five is the highest rating, three is average and one is the lowest. Extrapolating information that included all operations, the number of deaths prevented would have been much higher, said study co-author Rick May, a surgeon and a senior physician adviser to HealthGrades.
Although overall death rates declined, the country's best-performing hospitals reduced death rates at a much faster clip than poor performers, resulting in large state, regional and hospital-to-hospital variations in quality of care, May said.The best area in the country to undergo hospitalization or surgery and survive was the so-called rust belt in the Midwest, home to General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Chrysler, according to May. The worst region was most of the Deep South. The study did not publish names of individual hospitals. Some 128,749 deaths, or 54% of the total, were associated with four conditions: sepsis (a life-threatening illness caused by systemic response to infection), pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure. The study supports research and academic papers that show hospitals performing a higher number of operations lead to better outcomes, the doctor said.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV