Report includes bypass, heart failure in hospital ratings

U.S. News and World Report has bundled heart bypass and two other types of operations with the conditions congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a new rating called Best Hospitals for Common Care. The analysis also targets very low-volume hospitals with poor outcomes.

The new analysis on quality looks at heart bypass without valve repair or replacement, hip replacement and knee replacement plus congestive heart failure and COPD in Medicare fee-for-service patients. It breaks hospitals into three categories: high, average and below performers. U.S. News and World Report chose those procedures and conditions because they are considered common.

It reported that only 34 hospitals achieved a high rating for all five items while 700 hospitals earned a high rating in one of the five procedures or conditions. In addition, 700 hospitals received a below average rating for one of the five items.

The analysts identified 1,700 hospitals that were not rated in a procedure or condition because they treated too few patients. For basic heart bypass surgery, they determined that 124 hospitals treated on average 4.1 patients a year. Those very low-volume facilities had a 37 percent higher than expected mortality rate. High-volume hospitals, on the other hand, had a 7 percent lower than expected mortality rate.

For heart failure, they found 396 hospitals to be very low volume with an average case load of 3.9 a year. Those hospitals posed a 5 percent higher than expected mortality rate while high-volume hospitals achieved a 7 percent lower than expected mortality rate.

The publication launched its Best Hospitals for Common Care project May 20. The ratings are based on 25 quality measures with patient records adjusted for health condition, age, sex, socioeconomic status and other risk factors. Data sources include the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the American Hospital Association annual survey and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons clinical registry.

U.S. News and World Report plans to release a subset of the Best Hospitals for Common Care in its "Best Hospitals 2016" report, scheduled for Sept. 1.