HealthGrades releases 2012 hospital quality ratings

HealthGrades has released its annual hospital quality ratings report, and has found that mortality and complication rates have significantly improved since 2005.

To compile the report, HealthGrades used Medicare inpatient data from the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) database and analyzed clinical outcomes (mortality and complications) for 28 conditions and procedures.  HealthGrades then assigned a rating of one star (worse performance), three starts, or five stars (better performance) to each hospital.  Key findings include: 

  • Quality is improving; however, quality disparities among hospitals persist, even within local service areas.
  • Mortality and complication rates are changing unevenly—the rates for some procedures and conditions are improving, and some are declining.
  • From 2005 through 2011, the nation’s average in-hospital risk-adjusted mortality rate improved 22% across 16 of the common procedures and conditions including COPD, Heart Failure, and Stroke.
  • Changes in hospital performance during this timeframe varied widely by procedure and condition, ranging from a 3.5% increase in the risk-adjusted mortality rate for GI Surgeries and Procedures (performance decline) to a 34.1% improvement in risk-adjusted mortality rate for COPD.
  • Patients being treated at a hospital receiving 5-stars have a lower risk of dying during a hospital stay than if they were treated at a hospital receiving 1-star: for CABG, an 87.0% lower risk (4.6% vs. 0.6%); for  heart attack, 53.8% lower risk (10.6% vs. 4.9%); for pneumonia, a 69.8% lower risk (7.3% vs. 2.2%); and for sepsis, a 46.7% lower risk (23.2% vs. 12.4%)
  • Patients treated at a 5-star hospital also have a lower risk of complications: for total knee replacement, a 61.8% lower risk (15.5% vs. 5.9%); for hip fracture treatment, a 46.0% lower risk (33.2% vs. 17.9%); and for gallbladder surgery, a 50.3% lower risk (35.8% vs. 17.8%)

    To find out how a specific hospital performed, follow this link:

    (Sources: The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, October 23, 2012; HealthGrades,; October 2012)