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Joint Commission Top Hospitals List Shuns Academic Medical Centers

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, September 15, 2011

Joint Commission president Mark Chassin on Wednesday issued the agency's first collective assessment of the best hospitals in the nation, naming 405 systems based on achieving a 95% compliance score for risk-adjusted process measures, such as care for patients with surgical care, heart failure, heart attack and childhood asthma.

And, Chassin criticized other highly popular "Best Hospitals" lists published annually, saying they use "flawed" methodologies.

The performance statistics reported Wednesday by the commission have been available on the agency's website and on Medicare compare for some time. But Chassin said that the public "expects even greater transparency. They want to know how the hospitals where they receive care are performing" and lists them "all in one place."

These 405 hospitals make up 14% of the nation's hospitals that the Joint Commission accredits, and covers care processes related to heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, children's asthma.

To the surprise of many, hospitals with some of the most prominent national reputations – such as those held up as a model for health reform including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Medical Center, and Johns Hopkins University – are not on the Joint Commission's list. 

Neither are Intermountain Medical Center, Stanford University Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Sanford Health or Massachusetts General.  Academic medical centers, for the most part, are noticeably absent.

There are no hospitals listed in New York City, none in Baltimore and only one in Chicago.

Asked why well-known hospitals that usually top the lists published by others are not there, Chassin said it was because they didn't measure up in the data collected for 2010. "I would suggest asking the hospital that thinks [it]  should have been on [the Joint Commission's] list why they think they're not on the list," he said during a news briefing.

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6 comments on "Joint Commission Top Hospitals List Shuns Academic Medical Centers"


Richard A. Robbins, M.D. (11/1/2011 at 2:30 PM)
My colleagues and I have examined the Joint Commission's performance measures in terms of outcomes and find no relationship. The manscript was posted on 10-30-11 at Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care (http://www.swjpcc.com/). There is also an accompanying editorial posted on 11-1-11.

Todd (9/22/2011 at 6:44 PM)
I disagree with the comment that The Joint Commission has a conflict. I think its more of a problem in the other direction. They have a TON of data about hospitals both in the US and Internationally yet fail to disclose it. They don't want to bite the hand that feeds. Perhaps now they're starting to release information since Press Gainey is now comparing hospital data.

chloe (9/15/2011 at 11:37 PM)
By the way, there is also a conflict of interest with HEALTHGRADES. Healthgrades sells its consultancy services to hospitals who, surprise! Always get top ratings. Also a huge percentage of Healthgrades information is inaccurate. Finally, the hospitals that earn high ratings have to pay Healthgrades for the privilege of advertising that fact to the public. It's all a crock.