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HealthGrades names top 10 cities for hospital care

HealthGrades, a provider of consumer healthcare information, today released a list of America’s top cities for hospital care.

In its study, “HealthGrades Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence,” HealthGrades identified those hospitals performing in the top five percent nationwide across 26 different medical procedures and diagnoses, then ranked cities by highest percentage of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence. 

[See also: HealthGrades lists top 10 cities for emergency medical care]

The rankings are based on a comprehensive study of patient death and complication rates at the nation’s nearly 5,000 hospitals.

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The top 10 markets (in rank order) are:

1.    Baltimore
2.    Phoenix - Prescott, Ariz.
3.    Cedar Rapids, Iowa
4.    Richmond, Va.
5.    Cincinnati
6.    West Palm Beach, Fla.
7.    Chattanooga, Tenn. 
8.    St. Louis
9.    Hartford-New Haven, Conn.  
10. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.

“In an environment where one in seven Medicare beneficiaries is harmed as a result of their hospitalization and patients are fearful of the very institutions that are entrusted with saving their lives, it is important to identify and acknowledge those hospitals that are leading the way in reducing mortality and complication rates and to provide consumers access to this information,” said the company in a press release promoting the study.  

Other key findings from the study include:

[See also: HealthGrades names America's 50 best hospitals for 2010]

  • Patients treated at HealthGrades Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence have 30 percent lower chance of dying
  • Distinguished Hospitals can be found in 38 states. The top cities for hospital quality, determined by having the most Distinguished Hospitals in a Designated Market Area (DMA), are found in 26 states.
  • Specifically, Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence had a 30.07 percent lower risk-adjusted mortality rate and a 1.86 percent lower risk-adjusted in-hospital complication rate among Medicare beneficiaries compared to all other hospitals.
  • If all hospitals performed at the level of Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence, 165,704 Medicare lives could potentially have been saved and 6,800 Medicare in-hospital complications could potentially have been avoided.

“HealthGrades studies the cost of poor quality in terms of potential lives saved and complications prevented,” Kristin Reed MPH, HealthGrades vice president of hospital ratings and study author told Healthcare Finance News. “While HealthGrade does not examine the cost of care in terms of dollars, we know that there is a high cost associated with preventable complications. In fact, improved quality and safety in U.S. hospitals could save the federal Medicare program billions of dollars each year.”

Follow HFN Editor Rene Letourneau on Twitter @ReneLetourneau