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slides: Central Massachusetts Hospitals Named Safest For Surgery in State

Saturday, August 03, 2013


HealthAlliance Hospital of Leominster, Massachusetts, has the best surgical safety record not only in Central Massachusetts but in the state as a whole, according to Consumer Reports, which released this week its first-ever surgery safety rates for more than 2,400 hospitals across the country.

Out of a possible 100 score, the not-for-profit, full service, acute care hospital scored a 67 points in the new Consumer Reports assessment (the highest-rated hospital in the US received a score of 74).

Top-ranked HealthAlliance Hospital

HealthAlliance Hospital has 83 beds and serves the communities in North Central Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. The hospital has been lauded previously as the 4th leading hospital in the state of Massachusetts for surviving a heart attack and has been named Health Care's Most Wired Hospital four years in a row. It received an overall hospital safety rating from Consumer Reports of 66 in 2012, another score that placed it at the top of the list in Massachusetts.

In total, Consumer Reports gave numerical safety ratings to 6 out of 9 hospitals in Central Mass (and 51 out of 75 in Massachusetts overall). Although the unrated hospitals did receive overall safety scores/rankings, most received assessments in several of the sub-categories listed.

Surgical safety

Hospitals were ranked on: bloodstream infections that ICU patients contracted while they had catheters in place; avoiding readmissions within 30 days of being discharged; drug information made available to patients; and "surgery adverse events", which are based on mortality or staying in the hospital longer than expected.

Milford Regional Hospital followed closely in overall surgical safety rankings, receiving a score of 65 overall and placing #2 in the state. New England Baptist Hospital in Boston ranked #3 statewide, followed by Mercy Medical Center at #4 and Baystate Medical Center at #5, both in Springfield.

To develop the ratings, Consumer Reports worked with MPA, a health care consulting firm with expertise in analyzing medical claims and clinical records. The project uses billing claims that hospitals submitted to Medicare for patients 65 and older, from 2009 through 2011. For more information on how the hospitals were ranked, click here.

Massachusetts Hospital Association responds

“The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) and its member hospitals actively support greater transparency regarding quality and financial data to better inform the public," the MHA said in a statement released to GoLocalWorcester on the new ratings. However, the association's position is that these ratings do more harm than good. "Consumer Reports’ continued efforts to rate US hospitals result in greater confusion rather than clarity with an oversimplification of this extremely complex and important subject," according to the statement.

"In publishing these rankings, CR does not adequately address serious questions about the use of unsupported methodologies and the stark differences between these ratings and other recent quality and safety reports." According to MHA, several rankings published in this latest CR article are in direct conflict with the latest mortality data released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

"The public will be far better served if CR joins other responsible parties to develop a common national framework for quality measurement and reporting – one based on scientifically-validated and broadly-endorsed methods. Until this happens, the conflicting and confusing messages sent to the public by numerous sources will continue to be a barrier to truly informing and engaging healthcare consumers.”

See how the hospitals of Central Massachusetts ranked, below.


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