Medicare has added new data to Hospital Compare, an online tool that was designed to help patients choose hospitals based on safety ratings.
The new information in the Hospital Compare tool shows overall ratings for Hospital Acquired Conditions, and Serious Complications and Death. Consumers are also able to review surveys of patient’s hospital experience and the hospital’s patient safety measures for a variety of conditions.
The overall score for Serious Complications and Death is based on how often patients had serious but potentially preventable complications after medical or surgical care. Hospital Compare is also evaluating rates of specific medical errors, like giving patients the wrong type of blood, leaving surgical implements in patients’ bodies following surgery, and patient falls. The score for deaths for certain conditions is based on how many patients with that specific condition died while they were a patient at that hospital.
According to a report on msnbc.com, the hospital evaluations are the first step in Medicare’s move away from paying hospitals a set amount for each procedure. The long-term plan is to pay a small percentage less in Medicare reimbursements to hospitals with the lowest quality (which is determined by a wide swath of data, not just the new patient safety measures).
Hospital officials said their initial review of the new data on the Hospital Compare site does not fully take into account that hospitals which do more surgeries or treat sicker patients may have lower overall scores.
Check your local hospital ratings at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.