CALIFORNIA HOSPITALS: NEW HEART ATTACK ‘REPORT CARDS’
"[H]eart attack patients fared pretty much as expected inThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
most of California's hospitals, but they died significantly more
often than predicted at 10 institutions," according to a state
study released today. Coordinated by the Office of Statewide
Health Planning and Development, the report includes heart attack
mortality data on 418 hospitals from 1991-1993, collected from
medical and death records, the Los Angeles Times reports. The
state chose to focus on heart attacks, which are responsible for
40,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths annually, "because they
are 'important, common and deadly.'" The study was done in
response to a 1991 state law requiring selected outcome
The Times reports that of the 10 hospitals that scored lower
than expected, nine are in Southern California. Of the nine, six
are located in Los Angeles (Alhambra, Bay Harbor, Huntington East
Valley and Gardena Memorial hospitals) and Orange (Friendly Hills
Regional Medical Center and Garden Grove Hospital and Medical
Center) counties. While these hospitals received "black marks,"
13 hospitals "got the equivalent of gold stars." Posting "much
lower than expected death rates, given the patient mix," Cedars-
Sinai, Glendale Adventist and Long Beach Memorial Medical Centers
were among the best performers. According to the study,
hospitals "with the lowest death rates were more likely to be
aggressive in their use of aspirin, clot-busting agents,
angiography (X-rays of blood vessels) and angioplasty (repairing
damaged blood vessels)."
NO ONE IS PERFECT
Hospitals with the highest death rates attributed the
rankings to a "flawed" study based on old data, Times reports.
Dr. Patrick Romano of the University of California at Davis said
while the study "is inherently a limited perspective on quality
of service of an institution," he noted that "we can reasonably
argue that limited measures are better than no measure" (Marquis,