Hospital quality ratings are prepared by a huge number of different organizations, which makes it difficult for the consumer to learn & compare. A hospital “good” in one service, may not have a strong ranking in another. Most important – do not assume anything, and check more than one source. Three steps to begin:
Compare the findings and talk it over with your doctor and, if necessary, community leaders. PS – you can learn a lot by checking reports in other states – about survival, performance, quality standards and consumer responsibilities
Visit Hospital Compare to find hospital star ratings and complications for hospitals in all states. Compare 3 hospitals at one time. Federal government (at medicare.gov) gives 1 to 5 stars and compares hospital ratings for heart attack (AMI), heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, stroke, hip & knee, preventing infections and surgical complications, timeliness of Emergency (ER) dept., use of medical imaging. Most data are from calendar 2021, but may vary by measure. Includes death rate comparisons from heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, COPD, stroke, CABG; and return to hospital (readmission) rates. Click on Timely & Effective Care, or Complications. Shows patient satisfaction HCAHPS ratings (patient experience opinions) from 2021. Some info on colonoscopies and cataracts. Editor’s Pick because it’s the best of what is out there. The federal government standardized broad ratings for all hospitals, and most ratings are based on more than just Medicare patients. Small volume hospitals will not show data for some measures. Graphs are no longer available. Today’s stars may reflect older data than shown at the website. Read the fine print. Updated October 2022.
HealthGrades Hospital Ratings (5-star, 3-star, 1-star) for 2023 on over 30 diseases & inpatient procedures: Stroke, back surgery, COPD, diabetes, gall bladder surgery, bowel obstruction, GI Bleed, hip fracture repair, hip replacement, total knee replacement, prostate removal, TURP, hysterectomy (listed under gynecologic surgeries), respiratory failure, pneumonia, cardiac bypass, heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, defibrillator, pacemaker, valve surgery, sepsis, pancreatitis, pulmonary embolism, abdominal aneurysm, stomach surgery, peripheral vascular bypass & more. Probably Medicare-only data for most conditions, although some states provide maternity, appendectomy, and bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) data. More extensive list than the federal government’s site. Publicly-traded company. Most data in 2023 ratings are from Medicare patients, from 2018 to 2020. Patient satisfaction ratings (2020-2021 data) are featured by HealthGrades. One hospital at time, unfortunately. No longer Editor’s Pick, since HealthGrades removed the 3-year patient volume, and actual mortality or complication rates compared to predicted. Mostly, the site shows which ratings awards were given to the hospital by HealthGrades – a fee likely was required for publicizing the award.
The Leapfrog Group, an employer-based coalition, asks hospitals to voluntarily report how closely they follow recommended quality and safety practices. CLICK on the Show Info arrow underneath each green bar chart to find additional important information. You will find actual rates of performance,and whether the hospital you’re interested in, meets volume standards for certain complex surgeries. Many, but unfortunately not all hospitals participate; easy to compare. Updated Spring 2022. The period covered is unclear. Leapfrog was a pioneer in getting ratings in the public eye.
Find accredited healthcare facilities in all states, by The Joint Commission (TJC). TJC is formerly JCAHO – Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. It accredits hospitals and other healthcare organizations. Quality Check provides accreditation and comparison information for hospitals, behavioral health care, home health/hospice, laboratories, some nursing homes (called nursing care centers) & assisted living centers, and other health care services. A few actual scores for acute care hospitals, emergency departments and behavioral health (mental health) programs may be available for 2021. For nursing homes, consumers are advised also to check state inspection reports . In the past, we have discovered a 1-star Florida nursing home (the lowest possible rating in the state) had been accredited by the Joint Commission. Consumers are always advised to check multiple sources and ratings when researching quality of care. Conflicts in scores may suggest quality is not consistent. Updated 2022.
Find accredited hospitals and facilities through the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program. HFAP, founded by the American Osteopathic Association, lists names of acute hospitals and their laboratories, critical access hospitals, office-based and other ambulatory surgery centers; behavioral health, and primary stroke centers, that are accredited under the HFAP program. Competitor to the Joint Commission. Search function works best if you apply filters to type of facility (“program type”) and location. Look for the funnel icon.
How good are the hospital report card ratings and rankings in 2019? HANYS found none of the main twelve types of reports (from nine organizations) for New York hospitals merited five stars. Just one – NY state department of health Clinical Reports – received four stars. Five others, including CMS Hospital Compare, the Joint Commission, and Vizient Quality Leadership Awards got 3 stars. See the ratings of the raters for Leapfrog, Healthgrades, IBM Watson Health, US News and World Report and Newsweek best hospitals lists evaluations. HANYS is the Healthcare Association of New York State. Except for the NY state dept. of health reports, the others are applicable to most hospitals in the United States. Published November 2019.
This birthing directory identifies birth centers accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers (CABC). Standards are set by the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC). Birthing centers practice midwifery (midwives) and take a wellness and holistic approach to pregnancy and maternity care.
Find a Cancer Center. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated Cancer Centers, and Comprehensive Centers. There are 71 total in 37 states and DC. (Not all states have one.) Search by state, region or name. NCI-designated cancer centers display scientific excellence and are research-oriented. The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Commission on Cancer Hospital Locator shows Accredited Cancer Programs. The Commission on Cancer search tool helps you find Cancer Centers or Surgeons. Search by zip code (or city or state) and up to a 100 mile driving distance. Facilities are accredited by the Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons. Accreditation of a cancer center is based on ability to comply with established CoC standards.
Find patient survey ratings for hospitals in 2021. Compare HCAHPS patient satisfaction scores. The time periods represented in the data are very difficult to find, so we have removed Editor’s Pick. (We think the period is 3rd and 4th Quarters of 2020, as of the October 2021 report.) Nonetheless, this site is still one of the best for hospital comparisons. Compare 3 hospitals at a time, side by side. Find out how many patients would recommend their hospital, and the percent who give their hospital a 9 or 10 score. Voluntary hospital participation. Federal government oversees the HCAHPS survey process (H-Caps) – Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems. Hospital Compare became part of Care Compare at Medicare on December 1, 2020.
Joint Commission Disease-Specific Care – Certified Hospitals helps you find hospitals that have achieved Certification or Advanced Certification in any of about 9 programs. Advanced certification in stroke care (Primary Stroke Centers or two other stroke designations) is the most common. Other advanced certification programs are in hip and knee, inpatient diabetes, perinatal services, and ventricular assist devices. Add-on certification is available for palliative care and primary care medical home. Many are listed as having Advanced programs. The Joint Commission is the leading accrediting body for hospitals.
Find rehabilitation hospitals that are accredited by CARF – The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. CARF offers the ability to do an online search for accredited facilities with specific rehab programs you may be interested in. Select Program Focus to search for Addictions, Brain Injury, Mental Health, Integrated Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health, Opioid Treatment, Spinal Cord, Stroke Specialty Services, and more. Choose Age Group to search for older adult focus or children. Search engine is either simple (just put in state or zip code) or very complicated because of its detailed program choices. Updated 2022.