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HealthGrades Names Tops Cities for ED Care

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 14, 2011

Heart attack victims and other people in need of emergency care have a better chance of surviving in Cincinnati hospitals, where risk-adjusted mortality rates for patients admitted through the emergency department are the lowest in the nation, according to a study from HealthGrades.

HealthGrades Emergency Medicine in American Hospitals found large differences in mortality rates for patients admitted through the ED, both by hospital and by market area, based on an analysis of more than seven million Medicare patient records from 2007 to 2009.

The study focused on 12 of the most common medical emergencies, including heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and included only cases admitted to the hospital from the emergency room, representing the continuum of a care. Hospitals performing in the top 5% in the nation were designated by Denver-based HealthGrades as Emergency Medicine Excellence Award hospitals.

"In the case of a medical emergency, patients need to get to the closest emergency room as fast as possible. No exceptions," Rick May, MD, the study co-author and HealthGrades vice president of clinical quality services said in a media release. "That said, we encourage patients to prepare in advance by identifying top-performing hospitals close to home. Our research shows that it's not just the care you receive the moment you arrive that makes the difference between life and death, but the hospital's ability to continue to provide you with the right care at the right time if you need to be admitted."

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