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HealthGrades Study Finds Wide Disparities Among Hospitals Treating Women

by Lynn Shapiro, Writer | June 30, 2009
* Improvement in mortality and morbidity for top-performing hospitals was 33 percent, compared with poor-performing hospitals.
* Only one state, Colorado, was in the top 10 (lowest mortality and morbidity) for all three categories of women's health. Florida, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and South Dakota ranked among the top 10 in at least two out of three categories of women's health.
* 82 percent (14,930) of the potentially preventable deaths were associated with just four diagnoses: pneumonia, stroke, heart failure, and heart attack.

Maternity Care Outcomes

HealthGrades analyzed approximately 13 million hospital delivery and neonatal records from 2005 through 2007 in more than 1,500 hospitals in 19 all-payer states and found:

* 218 hospitals received a HealthGrades five-star rating for their maternity care programs. Of these, 145 had complications rates and weight-stratified neonatal mortality low enough to place them among the top 10 percent of hospitals studied. These 145 hospitals are recipients of the HealthGrades 2009/2010 Maternity Care Excellence Award.
* The difference in quality of care between maternity programs is substantial for both vaginal and C-section deliveries: the best-performing hospitals had 52 percent fewer maternal complications among women who had vaginal births compared to poor-performing hospitals and 76 percent fewer complications among women who had C-sections.

Patient-choice C-sections accounted for the largest difference (84 percent) between best- and poor-performing hospitals.
* If all hospitals, among the 19 states studied, performed at the level of the best-performing hospitals from 2005 through 2007, 182,129 women may have avoided developing one or more in-hospital major obstetrics complications.
* Best-performing hospitals had a 56 percent lower weight-stratified neonatal mortality compared to poor-performing hospitals.
* C-section rates average approximately 32 percent among the 19 states studied.
* Quality inconsistencies are seen when comparing states; those with the lowest complication rates had almost half the complications compared with states that had the highest complication rates.
* Patient-choice C-section rates - those where no medical necessity was indicated - rose 8.7 percent, from 2005 through 2007, from 2.07 percent to 2.25 percent of deliveries.

Source: HealthGrades

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