New Jersey's death rate following coronary artery bypass surgery has been cut by 53% in nine years, a testament to how public reporting of performance data can improve healthcare quality, officials said. The newest bypass surgery report card rates 55 cardiac surgeons and the 17 hospitals where cardiac surgery is performed. There were 7,391 procedures in 2002 and 159 deaths within 30 days after surgery -- a 2.15% mortality rate that compares to a 2.51% rate in 2000, according to the report.
Sixteen hospitals had rates that were statistically the same as the statewide average, while Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center in Camden had a risk-adjusted mortality rate that was significantly higher than the statewide average. No hospital had a mortality rate significantly lower than average. Two surgeons who no longer perform cardiac surgery in New Jersey had mortality rates significantly higher than the average and the rest had rates statistically the same as the statewide average. New Jersey is one of five states to report on cardiac surgery outcomes. View the full report. -- by Cinda Becker