Consumer Reports rates safety of more than 2,500 hospitals, including Houston-area facilities

Consumer Reports just rated more than 2,500 hospitals to help you find a safe one, and so how did hospitals in our area do?
March 28, 2014 2:26:04 AM PDT
You go to the hospital to get well, but far too many people die after something goes wrong. Consumer Reports just rated more than 2,500 hospitals to help you find a safe one, and so how did hospitals in our area do?

Patients get the wrong drugs, fail to get needed tests or treatments, or develop infections that could have been prevented. Now you can see for yourself the hospitals that are doing the best job of keeping you safe.

John James' teenage son died just days after being treated at a hospital for collapsing during a run.

"They turned him loose without an adequate warning not to run; they thought he should not and wrote it in the medical records, but he did not know that. The only thing they wrote for him at discharge was don't drive for 24 hours," James said.

Two weeks later, the 19-year-old died while running. Since then, James has dedicated himself to improving hospital safety.

The Journal of Patient Safety published James' analysis, which estimates 440,000 people a year die after suffering medical errors in hospitals.

Consumer Reports has also studied hospital safety and has rated more than 2,500 hospitals on how safe they are.

"For our mortality ratings, we use the most recent data available from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," said Dr. John Santa with Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports Mortality Ratings are based on how likely patients are to die within 30 days of being admitted for a heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia. They also consider how often surgery patients with serious treatable complications die in the hospital.

Out of 29 hospitals in our area, only Clear Lake Regional Medical Center in Webster earned a score above 60. Consumer Reports says four others received 36 out of 100, the lowest scores in the area. They are:

Kingwood Medical Center
West Houston Medical Center
Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital
Doctor's Hospital on Tidwell

We called those four hospitals, but only Memorial Hermann responded. It issued the following the statement:

"While we applaud Consumer Reports' effort to provide objective information to help consumers with their healthcare decision, their method is flawed and potentially misleading.

"There are other more comprehensive independent ratings companies such as Truven Health Analytics, Leapfrog and HealthGrades ? that highly rank Memorial Hermann Health System hospitals in patient safety and quality based on different combinations of the same kind of federal data.

"For instance, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital has been named among the nation's Top Performers on Key Quality Measures? by The Joint Commission, and recently was named one of Truven Health Analytics Top 100 Hospitals three out of the last four years."

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