HealthGrades, an Internet-based compiler of consumer information on healthcare quality, has released its first list of 163 "Distinguished Hospitals."
Lakewood, Colo.-based HealthGrades mines risk-adjusted Medicare data to publicly post ratings on more than 5,000 hospitals, but only by individual procedures and diagnoses, currently 20 in all.
"What we've done for the first time is take that information and compile it into an overall hospital rating," says Sarah Loughran, HealthGrades senior vice president.
Loughran says the new listings are based on the combined totals by hospital from a three-year, risk-adjusted analysis of procedures and diagnoses in cardiology, neuroscience and cardiac, orthopedic, pulmonary and vascular surgeries.
Of the 815 tertiary hospitals that performed enough procedures to afford adequate comparisons, HealthGrades chose the top 20% to single out as "distinguished." The cited facilities tended to be large, with an average of 479 beds. Typically, they were affiliated with a system (80%) and overall had a mortality rate that was 17.75% better than that of other hospitals.
Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Va., (569 licensed beds) made the "distinguished" list. Quality begets quality, according to hospital administrator Rodney Hochman, M.D., who also doubles as senior vice president and CMO of the six-hospital Sentara system.
"I've been in health systems around the country, and this is a neat hospital," Hochman says. "We were first in the nation with an e-ICU (see March, page 26). The environment helps breed the quality."