OH hospitals debate quality ratings

As in many other states, a group of Ohio employers have gotten together and begun issuing quality ratings for the state's hospitals. And as is often the case, the report has drawn much criticism from hospital administrators. This is the third year in a row that the group, the Employers Health Coalition of Ohio, has issued its Consumer Guide to Ohio Hospital Quality. The report, which grades 153 of the state's hospitals on a five-star scale, uses key three quality indicators to track performance, including deaths during procedures or treatment, major complications, and deaths after major complications.

The report's findings included some seemingly counterintuitive results, including the suggestion that despite their greater resources, larger facilities don't necessarily do a better job on key quality measures. Also, prestige didn't necessary predict performance. For example, the Massillon campus of Akron's Affinity Medical Center did better in treating congestive heart failure than the Cleveland Clinic, which ranked "significantly below average." 

Hospital leaders, meanwhile, argue that the report conflicts with other national studies. They also note that the "failure to rescue" criteria--which addresses the death of patients after complications--doesn't take into account the fact that larger hospitals frequently receive patients with pre-existing complications. But Coalition execs said that hospital grades are risk-adjusted to account for the severity of patient illness.

To learn more about the Ohio quality ratings project:
- read this article from the Akron Beacon Journal
review the group's ratings site
- read Akron-area citizens' comments on the ratings and their hospital experiences