Consumer Reports names its top hospitals for safety

How safe is your hospital?

Topics: Safety, Quality, Performance Improvement

July 5, 2012

Consumer Reports on Thursday announced its "Top 10 Hospitals" based on a new safety ratings system that assessed safety performance at 1,159 hospitals across 44 states.

For the rankings, Consumer Reports analyzed CMS, state government, and Leapfrog Group data in six categories: readmissions, hospital-acquired infections, CT scan overuse, communication about new medications and discharge, complications, and mortality. The list represents just 18% of U.S. hospitals.

Hospitals were scored on a 100-point scale and more than half received an overall safety score below 50%, according to Consumer Reports. None of the surveyed hospitals received a score higher than 72.

Nearly 500 facilities received the lowest possible score for communication about medications and discharge planning, which Consumer Reports says is "worrisome because drug errors in hospitals are common" and "poor discharge planning can lead to readmissions."

Based on Consumer Reports' ratings system, the nation's ten safest hospitals are:

    1. Billings Clinic (Mont.)
    2. Saint Claire's Hospital (Weston, Wis.)
    3. Alton Memorial Hospital (Ill.)
    4. Central Vermont Medical Center (Berlin, Vt.)
    5. Kadlec Medical Center (Richland, Wash.)
    6. St. John's Hospital (Springfield, Mo.)
    7. Mayo Clinic (Phoenix)
    8. Northern Michigan Regional Hospital (Petoskey)
    9. Bon Secours St. Francis Health System (Greenville, S.C.)
    10. Memorial Hospital of Union County (Marysville, Ohio)

The latest safety rankings provide a "window into our nation's hospitals, exposing worrisome risks that are mostly preventable," says John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center. "A consumer who enters a hospital thinking it's a place to get better deserves to know if that is indeed the case."

Consumer Reports' rankings come on the heels of the Leapfrog Group's own hospital safety report, which reviewed more than 2,600 hospitals and assigned letter grades.

However, some hospitals responded that the Leapfrog's grades used "incomplete" data and the American Hospital Association announced they would investigate the not-for-profit group's methods (McCarthy, Consumer News, 7/5; McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 7/5 [subscription required]).

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