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Study examines patient outcomes following surgery in Ohio

Recently, Consumer Reports graded more than 2,000 hospitals in Ohio and the rest of the country on surgical outcomes and medical mistakes. Twenty hospitals in the Greater Cleveland area were part of the study, which was released last week.

The grading took into account 27 categories and individual ratings on scheduled operations involving back surgeries, hip replacements, knee replacements, angioplasty surgeries and carotid artery surgeries. Of the 20 hospitals in the Cleveland area that were part of the study, only two earned the highest rating, and five earned the second-highest rating.

The Consumer Reports study revealed that up to 30 percent of hospital patients end up suffering infections, heart attacks, strokes and other complications after surgery. While people often go to the hospital in closest proximity to their homes for planned surgeries, the study reminds us that it is wise to do research when choosing a hospital and surgeon because the level of care can vary greatly.

The problem is that there isn’t much information out there when it comes to hospital ratings and reviews. That’s why Consumer Reports decided to dive into the data. The organization’s Health Ratings Center conducted the study based on billing claims submitted by hospitals to Medicare from 2009 to 2011.

The Health Ratings Center based the ratings on the percentage of patients who had died in the hospital or had stayed longer than planned, which often indicates complications with care. A total of 2,463 hospitals throughout the country were represented by the data.

Although some hospital officials took issue with the type of data that was used to determine the ratings, the associate director of the Health Ratings Center said while not “perfect,” the data gives a “slice of what happens to surgical patients in hospitals.”

More information, including specific hospital ratings, can be found on the Consumer Reports website.

Source: The Plain Dealer, “Parma Community and Southwest General hospitals get top marks in Consumer Reports’ surgery ratings,” Ellen Jan Kleinerman, July 31, 2013