Consumer Reports Sheds Light on Hospitals' Surgical Outcomes With New Ratings

Consumer Reports has premiered its ratings for hospitals based on their outcomes for scheduled surgeries, finding that some big-name hospitals and academic medical centers fell short from their reputations.

Consumer Reports looked at results for 27 types of scheduled surgeries and combined them into an overall surgery rating. It also developed ratings for five specific procedures: back surgery, hip and knee replacements, angioplasty and carotid artery surgery. Consumer Reports examined billing claims hospitals submitted to Medicare for patients 65 and older from 2009 through 2011.

Here are some of Consumer Reports' main findings:

• Teaching hospitals often fell short in surgery ratings, and on average, teaching hospitals performed no better than other hospitals.

• Several urban hospitals rated well despite often serving poorer, sicker patients, including Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland.

• Well-known hospitals did not always hold high rankings, as several Mayo Clinic hospitals rated average and Mayo Clinic Health System in Austin, Minn., got a low overall rating.

Consumer Reports' ratings for 2,463 acute-care and critical access hospitals are broken down by state and are measured in five color-coded categories from "better" to "worse."

"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," Lisa McGiffert, director of Consumers Union's Safe Patient Project, said in the ratings report. "They might as well just throw a scalpel at a dartboard."

More Articles on Hospital Ratings:

U.S. News & World Report Names Best Hospitals
Consumer Reports Updates Hospitals' Safety Scores
Do Hospital Rankings Enlighten or Confuse?

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