Individuals admitted for heart attack to a hospital ranked as one of Americas Best by U.S. News & World Report are less likely to die within 30 days than those admitted to a non-ranked hospital , according to a report in the July 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Using a methodology that is similar to the recently released mortality measures that are publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the study found that ranked hospitals were also more likely to have lower-than-expected death rateshowever, many unranked hospitals did as well.
Among the increasing number of academic, industry and governmental profiling systems that evaluate and compare hospitals, U.S. News & World Reports annual issue of Americas Best Hospitals for specialty and overall care is one of the most well known, the authors write as background information in the article.
Despite their prominent role in the public arena, the ability of the U.S. News & World Report rankings to identify hospitals with excellent survival rates for common cardiovascular conditions is not known.
Oliver J. Wang, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., and colleagues assessed 30-day death rates among 13,662 patients admitted to 50 hospitals ranked on the U.S. News list as the best in Heart and Heart Surgery and among 254,907 patients admitted to 3,813 unranked hospitals in 2003.
The researchers also compared the hospitals standardized mortality ratios, where a ratio of greater than one indicates that the hospital had more deaths than expected and a ratio of less than one means there were fewer deaths than expected.
After the researchers factored in patient characteristics, the 30-day death rates were, on average, lower in ranked hospitals vs. non-ranked hospitals (16 percent vs. 17.9 percent).
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