September 20, 2012

Connecticut Hospitals Don’t Make ‘Top Performer’ List

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Connecticut is the only New England state—and one of just three nationally—to have no hospitals designated as “Top Performers” by The Joint Commission, which issued an annual report gauging the performance of more than 3,300 accredited hospitals on 45 accountability measures linked to positive patient outcomes.

The Commission’s report lists 620 hospitals, in 47 states, that it says are “leading the way nationally in using evidence-based care processes closely linked to positive patient outcomes.” Every state has at least one hospital on the list—except Connecticut, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Ten hospitals in Massachusetts, 4 in Maine, 4 in New Hampshire, 3 in Vermont and one in Rhode Island were designated as top performers.

The Joint Commission report notes that many hospitals not recognized as top performers “are still performing well on accountability measures, but there is room for improvement.”

Michele Sharp, spokeswoman for the Connecticut Hospital Association, said Connecticut’s 30 acute-care hospitals are all “improving the quality of care they provide. Additionally, this report shows just one part of the hospital quality picture and may not be relevant for some patients.”

She said many other factors are important when choosing where to receive care, such as where a physician practices, specialty care a patient may need, insurance coverage, and how close the hospital is to the patient’s home.

“We encourage patients to use this information to talk with their physician and caregivers to make the right choice for their own care,” she said.

Of the 620 hospitals recognized as ‘Top Performers on Key Quality Measures,” 26 percent are rural hospitals, 45 percent are non-profit hospitals, and 49 percent have between 100 and 300 beds. Major teaching hospitals account for 5 percent of the recipients.

The number of hospitals recognized by the Joint Commission increased more than 50 percent from the list’s debut last year, when one Connecticut hospital—Griffin, in Derby—made the cut.

The top-performer designation is based on performance related to accountability measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children’s asthma care, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism (VTE) care, and stroke care.

Each of the top performers met two 95-percent performance thresholds on 2011 accountability measure data. Each hospital achieved performance of 95 percent or above on composite scores that include all the accountability measures for which it reports data to The Joint Commission—one for measures with at least 30 eligible cases, and the other including measures with fewer patients.

Overall, more than 88 percent of hospitals nationally achieved composite scores of greater than 90 percent. Since 2002, hospitals have continuously shown improvement on core measures.

The report comes as 23 Connecticut hospitals prepare to forfeit Medicare funds, starting in October, under a new federal policy that penalizes hospitals with significant numbers of patients who are readmitted within a month of discharge. The penalties are based on the percent of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients who return to the hospital for any reason within 30 days.

The Joint Commission accredits and certifies more than 19,000 health care organizations and programs in the U.S.

The view the list of Top Performers on Key Quality Measures click here.

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