Leapfrog releases its 2017 top hospitals list

The Leapfrog Group on Thursday released its 2017 Top Hospitals list, recognizing 109 hospitals for excellence in hospital quality, patient safety, and efficiency.

Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder in a release said, "The Top Hospital award highlights American hospitals that are providing the highest quality of care to their patients." She added, "We're encouraged to see hospitals across the country and within diverse communities earn this distinction."

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Now you can find information about your hospital on Yelp

ProPublica and Yelp recently agreed to a partnersship that will allow information from ProPublica's interactive health databases to begin appearing on Yelp's health provider pages. In addition to reading about consumers' experiences with hospitals, nursing homes and doctors, Yelp users will see objective data about how the providers' practice patterns compare to their peers.

According to NPR, Yelp is adding a ton of health-care data to its review pages for medical businesses to give consumers more access to government information on hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis clinics.

Consumers can now look up a hospital emergency room's average wait time, fines paid by a nursing home, or how often patients getting dialysis treatment are readmitted to a hospital because of treatment-related infections or other problems.

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CMS testing star ratings for hospitals until August 17

According to AHA News Now, hospitals have until Aug. 17 to review their results from the CMS dry run test of a proposed star rating system for overall hospital-level quality.

The test allows hospitals to ask questions and provide feedback, with a goal to contribute to refinements of the methodology before overall star ratings are posted on the Hospital Compare website next year. Each hospital will receive a Hospital-Specific Report, which includes its star rating results and the measures used to calculate them.

For more on the dry run, including links to a mock report and HSR User Guide, visit www.qualitynet.org. CMS will host an Aug. 13 call on the overall star ratings methodology, Hospital-Specific Reports and lessons learned from the dry run. To register for the CMS call, click here.

ProPublica publishes scorecard on complication rates

ProPublica has published a scorecard of complication rates for almost 17,000 individual surgeons at more than 3,500 hospitals nationwide based on an analysis of Medicare data.  The scorecard allows users to search by location, by surgeon, or by hospital.

For its analysis, ProPublica analyzed Medicare data from 2009 to 2013 for eight common elective procedures, which accounted for 2.3 million total surgeries:

  • Knee replacements;
  • Hip replacements;
  • One type of spinal fusion on the neck;
  • Two types of spinal fusions in the lower back;
  • Gall bladder removals;
  • Prostate removals; and
  • Prostate resections.

Few patients see or use price and cost data to make health decisions

According to Kaiser Health News, few individuals use quality and price data to make choices for their health care.

While there has been a recent push in the public and private sectors to increase health care transparency, the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that:

 

  • Approximately two-thirds of respondents reported difficulties finding information on hospitals' and physicians' exact prices for treatments or procedures
  • Only about 20% of respondents reported seeing price or quality data about doctors, hospitals, or insurers.
  • Less than 9% of respondents said they used pricing data when making decisions on health plans;
  • About 6% of respondents said they used quality data when making a decision about a doctor, hospital or insurer; and
  • 3% of respondents reported using pricing information when making decisions about physicians

 

 

Consumers not using quality and price information to make decisions

Despite years of trying to make health information more available to support patient decisions, according to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation few people use information about doctors or hospitals to obtain better care at lower prices.

While health care prices for doctors and hospitals have traditionally been difficult to find or understand, the 2010 health law tried to make such information more transparent. People shopping for insurance can now compare the prices of competing plans through online marketplaces, including premiums, deductibles and their share of any medical expenses. The federal government also publishes more than 100 quality ratings about hospitals, as do some large private insurers. Private groups such as Consumer Reports and U.S. News & World Report also rate providers, and Internet forums such as Yelp are now littered with easily accessible opinions.

The poll found that this information rarely makes a difference. About 6 percent of people ever used quality information in making a decision regarding an insurer, hospital or doctor. And fewer than 9 percent used information about prices, most commonly in relation to health plans. Only 3 percent said they used price information about physicians, the poll found.

Kaiser Health News

New Commonwealth Fund scorecard notes states made little progress before ACA

According to a recent Commonwealth Fund report on State Health System Performance, in the five years preceding implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s major coverage provisions, the majority of states declined or failed to improve on two-thirds of the measures that could be tracked over time.

Commonwealth Fund researchers ranked the health systems of every state and the District of Columbia on a variety of health care measures. Of the 34 measures that could be tracked between 2007 and 2011–12, all states saw meaningful improvement on at least seven. But more than half of states lost ground on at least nine measures. 

The Commonwealth Fund scorecard covers areas such as Access and Affordability, Prevention and Treatment, Potentially Avoidable Hospital Use and Cost, and Health Lives (public health measures). 

How doctors select their...doctors!

In a recent Forbes interview with The Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder, Marty Makary, MD explains how he selected a doctor for his father's surgery—and offers tips for patients making similar choices for themselves and their families.  According to the Forbes site, Makary says patients should investigate a hospital using CMS's Hospital Compare site, Leapfrog's Hospital Safety Score, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons reports, online reviews, patient satisfaction survey results, and the surgeon's credentials.

The Forbes article is part two of an interview with Dr. Marty Makary, author of Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care.

MHQP releases report on the quality of care in Massachusetts Primary Care offices

Massachusetts Health Quality Partners (MHQP) has released its annual Quality Insights report, which found that Massachusetts primary care physicians continue to provide high-quality care, though variation in the quality of care delivered by medical groups in Massachusetts remains, according to a press release.
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