USA: It’s Up. USAToday’s Annual Hospital Report

Posted on August 5, 2011


USA: Last night the intrepid team from USA Today released their annual interactive roundup of death and readmission rates for every major hospital in the US. I wait for this report every summer; it is my favorite hospital performance tool on the planet. Why? There is no spin. No selective data omissions that might embarrass a weathy and influential hospital that throws buckets full of advertising dollars at the report’s source. Everybody is treated the same in the USAToday roundup.

The data here comes from the office of Medicare/Medicaid and is presented in the most consumer-friendly way imaginable: national interactive map. Death and Readmission Rates are given for three conditions: Heart Attack, Heart Failure and Pneumonia. The goverment obviously tracks more condtions than this, but these big three are thought to be the best indicators of overall hospital performance and quality of care.

I got a call yesterday from a health reporter asking me for comments on Missouri hospital performance in advance of this report’s release. Despite their happy-as-hell advertising campaigns, Missouri’s hospitals are still dragging along with performance that ranges from Solidly Mediocre to Russian Roulette Scary. (That rating scale is mine, not USAToday’s.) Our big shining light, Skaggs Hospital in Branson, Missouri, has posted some of the very best heart attack numbers in the entire country over the past five years, but even they had slipped a bit, especially in their readmission rates. As for the rest of the country, I saw some old familiar names in the “Worst Of” catagories – Manatee Memorial, Carillion, Kennewick – I wonder how these institutions keep their doors open.

I want to thank the reporters who researched, compiled and presented this year’s report: William Couch, Joshus Hatch, Anthony DeBarros, Lou Schilling and Christopher Schnaars. Outstanding work.

I encourage you to take 10 minutes out of your day and explore this report. I believe you’ll find it… enlightening.


Posted in: Advocate News, USA