Healthgrades on Tuesday released its seventh annual list of "America's 50 Best Hospitals," which recognizes on their performance across common procedures, and identified the top U.S. cities for hospital care based on their overall in-hospital mortality rates.
The group also released its list of the nation's 100 Best Hospitals, an expanded ranking that debuted for the first time last year.
America's Best Hospitals
The "Best Hospitals" lists honor hospitals on two levels: The 50 Best Hospitals and the 100 Best Hospitals. They build on the ranking organization's 2013 Distinguished Awards of Clinical Excellence, which were announced in January and recognize the top 5% of hospitals in the country.
To be eligible for consideration, hospitals were required to be evaluated for mortality and complication rates for at least 19 of the 27 conditions and procedures included in the Healthgrades methodology. Altogether, nearly 4,500 organizations were graded by Healthgrades, and nearly 1,500 hospitals were deemed eligible for the award.
The firm's health care quality group then analyzed mortality rates for 18 procedures and diagnoses, including sepsis, pneumonia, and coronary angioplasty, as well as in-hospital complication rates for nine procedures, including hip replacement and carotid surgery. Hospitals with the best performance received five stars, while hospitals with average performance received three stars and hospitals with low performance received one star.
Healthgrades identified the top 5% of hospitals based on their performance across the conditions and procedures. Those 262 hospitals received the Distinguished Award for Clinical Excellence.
To qualify for the 50 Best Hospitals list, hospitals had to either receive the Distinguished Award for eight consecutive years, or receive the award for seven straight years and had the highest clinical excellence score. Altogether, these 50 hospitals represent the top 1% of hospitals in the nations, according to Healthgrades.
For the 100 Best Hospitals list, Healthgrades recognized the next 50 highest performing hospitals on the list. These 100 hospitals represent the top 2% of hospitals in the nations, according to Healthgrades.According to Healthgrades, 165,636 lives would have been saved if all U.S. hospitals performed at the level of the 100 Best Hospitals from 2009 to 2011.
Top cities for hospital care
To determine the best cities for hospital care, Healthgrades calculated each city's overall risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality rate. The five cities with the lowest mortality rates were:
- Dayton, Ohio (4.68%)
- Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. (4.70%)
- Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, Wis. (4.84%)
- Cincinnati-Middletown, Ohio (4.89%)
- Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, Fla. (5.13%)
However, the Healthgrades report noted "dramatic variability" in clinical outcomes at hospitals within these cities (Healthgrades release, 2/19; Healthgrades report, 2/18).