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Healthgrades Revs its Hospital Scoring System

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 24, 2012

For the first time the Healthgrades report ranks states by average risk-adjusted mortality rates. The top five states are Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.  The bottom five states are Alabama, Washington, D.C., Mississippi, Nevada, and Vermont. But the report also shows wide variation among hospitals just moments away from each other within the same city.

Additionally, a color-coded chart in the report shows average risk-adjusted in-hospital mortality by state.  Special reports outline key quality measures for each of 50 states plus the District of Columbia.

Another new feature includes a chart showing that in-hospital mortality rates for four conditions and procedures over the last five years. For example, it shows that between 2005 and 2007, mortality rate for sepsis was 22% but declined to 17.3% by 2009-2011.  Likewise, mortality for heart attack patients declined from 10.3% in 2005-2007 to 7.5% in 2009-2011.

Marks says that unlike some other national healthcare scorecards, Healthgrades has avoided producing an actual ranking of states throughout the country in overall quality, saying it would be "forced" because the margin of error between a ranking of 46 and 47 may be insignificant.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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