Consumer Reports states as its mission “to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.” The nonprofit recently expanded its services in that regard by providing a rating of the best and worst medical facilities in the United States. Now patients concerned about substandard care and medical negligence can turn to an impartial ranking system in choosing a medical facility.
The group cited a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicating that medical malpractice may contribute to the death of as many as 180,000 Medicare patients every year. Given the state of the industry, Consumer Reports decided that consumers needed more information than they were currently getting. The rankings take into account factors such as infection rates, over-use of imaging tests that expose patients to radiation, fatality rate for certain conditions, and complaints raised about safety issues.
Infection rates, as well as the frequency with which patients who are discharged by the hospital quickly return for further care are considered good indicators of a facility with problems. Hospital acquired infections are quite common despite the fact that several programs used in hospitals across the country have proven effective in reducing them. The facilities that suffer high infection rates may simply not be taking proper steps to ensure the safety of their patients.
The highest score was achieved by a hospital in Montana, while the lowest score went to a Chicago facility. None of the top 10 or bottom 10 facilities are in Florida.
Source: redOrbit, “Hospital Safety Ratings Released By Consumer Reports,” 8 July 2012