For the first time, Consumer Reports has rated U.S. hospitals on how patients fare during and after surgery. The Ratings include an overall surgery Rating, which combines results for 27 categories of scheduled surgeries, as well as individual Ratings for five specific procedure types: back surgery, hip replacement, knee replacement, angioplasty, and carotid artery surgery.
Consumer Reports’ Surgery Ratings are based on an analysis of billing claims that hospitals submitted to Medicare for patients 65 and older, from 2009 through 2011, and cover 2,463 hospitals in all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The surgery Ratings are based on the percentage of a hospital’s Medicare patients who died in the hospital or stayed longer than expected for their procedure. Research shows that mortality and length of stay correlate with complications, and some hospitals themselves use this approach to monitor quality. To develop the Ratings, Consumer Reports worked with MPA, a health care consulting firm with expertise in analyzing billing claims and clinical records data and in helping hospitals use the information to improve patient safety.