50 Top U.S. hospitals for heart care

Thomson Reuters today released its thirteenth annual study identifying the 50 top U.S. hospitals for inpatient cardiovascular care.

“This year’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals have continued to deliver excellent care and have been able to improve their performance in a tough economic climate,” said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals program at Thomson Reuters, in a statement. “The hospitals in this study have provided measurably better care and are more efficient than their peers, demonstrating incredibly strong focus by hospital leadership at a time when the healthcare system is steeped in volatility.”

[See also: Thomson Healthcare study names top 100 hospitals on patient safety]

The study shows that 97 percent of cardiovascular inpatients in U.S. hospitals survive and approximately 96 percent remain complication-free, reflecting improved cardiovascular care across-the-board over the past year.

The 50 top hospitals’ performance surpasses these high-water marks as indicated by:

• Better risk-adjusted survival rates (23 percent fewer deaths than non-winning hospitals for bypass surgery patients).

• Lower complications indices (40 percent lower rate of heart failure complications).

• Fewer patients readmitted to the hospital after 30 days.

• Shorter hospital visits and lower costs. Top hospitals discharge bypass patients nearly a full day sooner and spend $4,200 less per bypass case than non-winners.  

• Increased use of internal mammary artery (IMA) for coronary artery bypass surgeries. Top hospitals have increased their use of this recommended procedure from 88 to 96 percent.

The study evaluated general and applicable specialty, short-term, acute care, non-federal U.S. hospitals treating a broad spectrum of cardiology patients. Thomson Reuters researchers analyzed 2009 and 2010 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) data, Medicare cost reports and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Hospital Compare data.

Hospitals were scored in these key performance areas: risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted complications, core measures (a group of measures that assess process of care), percentage of coronary bypass patients with internal mammary artery use, 30-day mortality rates, 30-day readmission rates, severity-adjusted average length of stay and wage- and severity-adjusted average cost.

The Thomson Reuters 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals were classified into three comparison groups. (The order of hospitals in the list does not reflect performance ranking.)

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