Hospitals slam Lown Institute's social responsibility ranking

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The American Hospital Association is taking aim at the Lown Institute's social responsibility ranking, which ranks 3,010 hospitals across the U.S. on 54 metrics. 

The ranking from the nonpartisan healthcare think tank was released Sept. 21. Some of the metrics used in the ranking are inclusivity, pay equity, avoiding overuse and clinical outcomes, as well as cost efficiency, a new metric that evaluates how well hospitals achieve low mortality rates at a low cost. 

The AHA claims that the index from the Lown Institute draws "sweeping and arbitrary conclusions" and uses "old and incomplete data."

In particular, the AHA said that the inclusivity metric only looks at Medicare data, which is not representative of the community hospitals care for.

"Hospitals treat the patients who come through their doors regardless of their ability to pay, and those who do enter the hospital may or may not match with the demographics of the Medicare population," the AHA said. "Yet Lown penalizes hospitals whose patient mix does not match the local Medicare population."

The AHA also said the Lown Institute used mortality as the only clinical outcome for measuring cost efficiency. 

"These and other shortcomings may explain why researchers themselves acknowledge the index won’t help patients actually choose between hospitals," the AHA concludes. 

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