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Hospital Rankings: The More, the Murkier

Tinker Ready, for HealthLeaders Media, May 1, 2014

'An Abundance of Contradictory Findings'
But there's that blue logo on the UCLA Health System website: Ranked Best in the West 1990-2014 / No. 5 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. The site also notes that US News ranked the flagship Ronald Regan campus, which earned a C from Leapfrog, as the top hospital in LA for 2011.

And over on Medicare's Hospital Compare site? The hospital's readmission and mortality rates were average or better for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia, but below average for hospital-wide readmissions. But wait – there's another hospital in the UCLA system, this one in Santa Monica. It earned an A in the last two Leapfrog surveys.

It's a lot to wrap your head around. Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy at the American Hospital Association, says the abundance of contradictory findings is confusing the public—and providers.

"[The public doesn't] know what to make of all that," she said. "The same is true inside the hospitals. If you have too many measures and too many report cards, it's hard to know what the national focus is so you can align your efforts to drive quality forward."

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