Hospital Care: Does Your State Rate?
All states -- even ones at the bottom of the barrel when it comes to hospital care -- have good hospitals and bad hospitals. What do you look for in a good hospital?
Suffering a heart attack in a state such as Mississippi is
likely to be much more dangerous than in Colorado.
In fact, a new report shows where you live may play a major
role in the quality of hospital care you get for various conditions.
The sixth annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study
shows the quality of healthcare at the nation's hospitals varies greatly among
Researchers ranked each of the country's nearly 5,000 hospitals
on 26 common procedures and conditions and found better-performing hospitals
tended to be in northern or sparsely populated states.
Here's how the 50 states and District of Columbia fared:
Hospital Care, State by State
"The quality chasm at American hospitals is real, and it is
very alarming and concerning -- despite evidence of process improvements,"
says Samantha Collier, MD, HealthGrades' vice president of medical affairs, in
a news release.
Although there are exceptional hospitals in even the
lowest-ranking states, researchers say that, on average, patients get better
quality healthcare in the higher-ranking states.
For example, the report shows that a person has a 55% increased
chance of dying if he or she had a balloon angioplasty or other similar heart
procedure in Texas rather than in New York.
"In Mississippi, your chance of dying from a heart attack
is 49% higher, on average, than if you were treated in Colorado," says
Researchers say that the greatest differences at the state
level were among certain heart procedures, such as balloon angioplasty,
stenting, and others. For these procedures, New York was the best performing
state and Alaska was the worst.
The report shows states such as Texas and Tennessee also had
above-average death rates associated with these procedures -- which resulted in
hundreds of unnecessary deaths between 2000 and 2002, researchers say.
Meanwhile, hospitals in New York, New Jersey, and Florida had lower-than-normal
death rates associated with these procedures that prevented many deaths.
A complete list of rankings for each of the 26 procedures
studied at almost 5,000 hospitals is available at www.healthgrades.com.
Researchers compiled the rankings based on whether the patient
outcomes at the various hospitals were better or worse than could normally be
expected. A five-star rating reflects performance significantly better than
expected, three stars reflects an average level of performance, and a one-star
rating reflects care that was significantly worse than expected.