Consumer Reports Rates Hospital Safety

Cheryl Clark, July 5, 2012

The spotlight on hospital-caused patient harm has become a bit brighter with the launch of Consumer Reports' hospital safety ratings, which uses several different measures than the Leapfrog Group's recent and controversial hospital letter grades, and reaches opposite conclusions about many facilities.

The CU rating system, featured in the magazine's August issue, rates hospitals in six categories:

  1. Infections
  2. 30-day readmissions
  3. Overuse of scanning
  4. Communication about new medications and discharge process (as measured by HCAHPS – the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey)
  5. Patient complications
  6. 30-day post-discharge mortality

In addition to informing consumers, the CU rating system is aimed at hospital CEOs and boards, "in terms of their accountability," and getting them to understand they can do better, John Santa, MD, director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, explained in an interview with HealthLeaders.

"We see hospitals are figuring this out, but most of them haven't.  The hospitals that have are those with CEOs and boards that have decided, 'enough of this ambiguity about safety. We've had 12 years since the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human. This is embarrassing. And we're not going to be embarrassed by it any longer."


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