Healthgrades released its America’s 50 and 100 Best Hospitals for 2018, which the organization said represents the top 1% and 2% of U.S. hospitals.
Healthgrades said the hospitals it named “demonstrate superior clinical outcomes across the majority of common inpatient conditions and procedures and sustained this performance for at least five consecutive years.”
The hospitals on America’s Best Hospitals list outperformed peers “in treating a core group of conditions that account for more than 80% of mortalities in areas evaluated, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, respiratory failure, sepsis and stroke.”
Healthgrades said the four characteristics evident in all of the top 100 hospitals are patient-centered care, evidence-based decision making, a culture of collaboration and consumer and patient engagement.
States with the most hospitals on the top 50 list included California (10), Illinois (6) and Michigan (6). Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia had no hospitals honored in the top 100.
These kinds of top lists are a chance to highlight successes and allow hospitals to rightfully puff out their chest. It’s also a chance for hospitals not on the list to figure out where they need to improve.
However, some healthcare leaders have spoken out about rankings and other grading systems. Critics question the methodology and selection. Chicago-based nonprofit Saint Anthony Hospital, which saw its Leapfrog safety grade drop from "A" to "C" last year, sued Leapfrog for defamation. In its suit, the hospital said receiving a "C" from The Leapfrog Group "will erase years of improvements at the hospital and irreparably degrade the public perception of the hospital."
Also, after the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other groups spoke out about the CMS’ hospital rating program, the agency shelved its October hospitals update to make changes to its hospital star rating methodology. Another concern raised about the CMS program is that some of the top hospitals in the U.S. have received average ratings in past years, while lower profile hospitals wound up with five stars.
The latest Healthgrades list showed there can be quite a difference between what’s considered a quality hospital and health system depending on how you're grading them. For instance, Hawaii had no facilities in Healthgrades’ top 100, but U.S. News & World Report ranked the state No. 1 in its state healthcare ranking.
On the flip side, California, Illinois and Michigan, which had the most hospitals in Healthgrades' top 50, didn't make U.S. News & World Report’s top 10 states. California was 11th on that list, Illinois was 27th and Michigan was 32nd.
However, both lists shared similar concerns about facilities in other states. U.S. News & World Report’s bottom five states (Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Alabama) did not have any hospitals in Healthgrades’ top 100 list. In fact, only two hospitals in the U.S. News & World Report’s bottom 10 states were featured in Healthgrades top 50 Best Hospitals. They were both in Georgia: Northeast Georgia Medical Center and Piedmont Fayette Hospital.