Study: Government, not magazine ranking, is better source for hospital data

Many hospitals not included on the U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” list for cardiac care and surgery perform at least as well, if not better, than those on the list in the areas of heart failure (HF) mortality and readmission in CMS data, according to a study published this week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

According to MedPageToday, Hospitals that made the U.S. News & World Report list had a better 30-day mortality than those who didn't make the cut, but 30-day readmission rates did not differ between ranked and unranked hospitals, a multicenter team of investigators concluded.

Mortality and readmission rates varied widely among the 50 hospitals on the magazine's list and the 4,700 hospitals that did not make the list, the investigators reported in the September issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

"The ways in which [ranked] hospitals are excelling in mortality do not seem to be transferring to excellence in transitioning people from being in the hospital to staying out of the hospital," Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, of Yale, said in a statement.

For the study, a researcher from Yale University School of Medicine and colleagues examined Medicare data collected between July 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006 on HF mortality and readmission rates for the 50 hospitals ranked by U.S. News in 2006 as “America’s Best Hospitals” in “Heart and Heart Surgery.” The researchers then compared the outcomes of hospitals on the list with outcomes for HF patients from 4,761 non-ranked U.S. hospitals.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, September 3, 2009; MedPage Today, http://medpagetoday.com, accessed September 14, 2009)