HealthGrades: Lower Mortality Seen at High-Ranked Hospitals

Patients in five-star hospitals have much lower death risk than those at one-star hospitals
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Patients at hospitals performing better than average on a variety of procedures and diagnoses have a lower risk of mortality compared to patients at low-performing hospitals, according to research released Oct. 20 by HealthGrades.

The authors of the annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America study analyzed 40 million hospitalization records from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for mortality and complication rates at the nation's 5,000 nonfederal hospitals. They gave hospitals a one-, three-, or five-star (below average, average, and above average, respectively) rating for 26 procedures and diagnoses, based on their performance compared to that of other hospitals.

The researchers found that patients would have a 72.47 percent lower risk of dying in a five-star hospital compared to a one-star hospital, and a 53.36 percent lower risk of dying in a five-star hospital compared to an average hospital. Hospital mortality rates fell by 7.98 percent from 2007 to 2009.

"We are encouraged by the steady improvement in mortality rates among America's hospitals, but there's an unacceptably wide gap that has persisted between the top-performing hospitals and all others in terms of patient outcomes," Rick May, M.D., vice president of HealthGrades and an author of the study, said in a statement. "For hospital leaders as well as potential patients, it is essential that they understand -- and act upon -- these findings."

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