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U.S. News rates Baystate Medical Center "high performer"

May 22, 2015

U.S. News & World Report has rated Baystate Medical Center as part of an elite group of 34 “high performing” hospitals in a new form of evaluation that rates hospitals on how well they perform in several surgical procedures and chronic conditions.

A testament to care

Baystate is one of only three hospitals in New England to be rated as “high performing” in an analysis of 4,600 hospitals nationwide in the magazine’s new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings released on May 20.

“This latest honor from U.S. News & World Report, in addition to already placing in its Best Hospitals report, is further recognition of the world-class care available to patients at Baystate Medical Center. It is truly an honor and a testament to our clinicians and staff who strive to deliver safe, high-quality care for our patients every day,” said Dr. Evan Benjamin, Senior Vice President for Quality and Population Health and Chief Quality Officer for Baystate Health.

“The new Common Care report is unique in that it looks at numerical data based on hospital outcomes rather than basing judgment on a hospital solely on its reputation. It also emphasizes what we have known in the healthcare industry for a while, that hospitals that perform many of the same types of procedures tend to have better outcomes with them,” he added.

The evaluation process

U.S News evaluated hospitals based on their performance in three common operations – heart bypass, hip replacement, and knee replacement – and two widespread chronic conditions – congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To be eligible, hospitals had to perform a minimum number of each procedure each year. Hospitals were rated as “High Performing” like Baystate Medical Center, “Average” or “Below Average.”

Thirty-four hospitals earned “High Performing” ratings in all five procedures or conditions. Approximately 10 percent of the hospitals rated in each condition or procedure were high performing.

The new ratings reflect the magazine’s broadest expansion of its analysis of hospital quality since it established its annual Best Hospitals ranking of medical centers 25 years ago. While the magazine releases its Best Hospitals rankings annually to help patients with life-threatening or rare conditions to identify those that excel in treating the most difficult cases, the new “common care” rankings consider the kinds of diseases and conditions that most commonly lead to hospitalizations.

“The choice of a hospital can be life-changing even for relatively routine surgery. Hospitals can differ greatly in quality, and excelling in one area doesn’t guarantee that a hospital excels in other areas,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis for U.S. News. “The good news for patients is that the majority of hospitals performed average or better.”

To generate the ratings, U.S. News evaluated hospitals across more than 25 quality measures – including mortality, readmissions, infections and patient satisfaction scores – and analyzed more than 5 million patient records, taking into account each patient’s health conditions, age, sex, socioeconomic status and other factors affecting risk. The ratings rely on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid data for patients 65 and older, as well as data from the American Hospital Association’s annual survey and clinical registry data from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

A subset of the Best Hospitals for Common Care results will appear in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2016” guidebook which hits newsstands on September 1.

Additional honors

Baystate Medical Center is nationally ranked in the current Best Hospitals report for its care in the areas of diabetes and endocrinology; ear, nose and throat; and gynecology. Also, Baystate Children’s Hospital has been named a U.S. News Best Children’s Hospital in the area of endocrinology and diabetes for two straight years.

“It is important for patients, in consultation with their doctors, to be able to research a hospital and know the hospital has treated a sufficient number of patients like them,” said Harder. “Our Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings give patients access to more information and help them make more-informed choices among the hospitals in their communities.”

Future plans by U.S News include expanding into other common procedures or conditions for rating.