TUESDAY, Jan. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Baltimore is the top U.S. city for hospital care, according to a new report that examined patient death and complication rates at nearly 5,000 hospitals across the nation.
The report identified hospitals performing in the top 5 percent for 26 different medical procedures and diagnoses, and then ranked cities according to those with the highest percentage of top-ranked hospitals.
Baltimore had nine top-performing hospitals out of 19 eligible hospitals in the city. The other cities in the top 10 were: Phoenix-Prescott, Ariz.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Richmond, Va.; Cincinnati; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; St. Louis; Hartford-New Haven, Conn.; and Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo, Mich.
Cities in which almost half of their hospitals were top-rated included Baltimore (47 percent), Phoenix-Prescott (44 percent), Cedar Rapids (43 percent) and Richmond (43 percent), the investigators found.
The report was released Tuesday by HealthGrades, an independent source of doctor and hospital quality outcomes. The city hospital care rankings are part of HealthGrades' 10th annual Hospital Quality and Clinical Excellence study.
The report also found that top-rated hospitals (Distinguished Hospitals for Clinical Excellence) were found in 38 states and that the top cities for hospital quality are found in 26 states.
Medicare patients at top-rated hospitals had a 30 percent lower risk-adjusted death rate and a nearly 2 percent lower risk-adjusted in-hospital complication rate compared to patients at all other hospitals.
If all hospitals performed at the same level as the top-rated hospitals, the lives of nearly 166,000 Medicare patients could potentially have been saved and 6,800 in-hospital complications could potentially have been avoided, according to the report.
Currently, one in seven Medicare patients is harmed as a result of their hospitalization and many patients actually fear going to the hospital, according to HealthGrades. Therefore, it's important to identify and acknowledge hospitals that provide the best care, the authors of the report pointed out in a HealthGrades news release.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers advice about choosing quality care.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: HealthGrades, news release, Jan. 24, 2012
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