State Ranks Hospitals by Heart Surgery Death Rates
Fewer cardiac bypass procedures were performed in 2003 than in 2000, although the number of other cardiac procedures increased over the same period, according to a report released Tuesday by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Los Angeles Times reports. The report marks the first time all 121 hospitals in the state that perform cardiac bypass surgery have been required to release performance data (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/22).
The report uses data from 2003, the most recent year for which they were available, to analyze 21,272 coronary artery bypass graft procedures that were not performed in conjunction with any other medical procedures. Researchers looked at death rates for patients who died immediately after surgery, as well as rates for patients who died outside of the hospital within 30 days of the procedure (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/22).
The analysis found:
- The number of cardiac bypass surgeries performed in the state declined by 23% between 2000 and 2003, while the number of other cardiac procedures increased by 15%;
- There was no clear association between the number of bypass surgeries at a hospital and its death rate;
- 2.91% of patients who received only coronary bypass surgery in 2003 died within 30 days; and
- Eight hospitals that performed between 25 and 136 surgeries annually reported no deaths.
According to the report, the four hospitals with the highest death rates were:
- Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego;
- Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs;
- Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood; and
- Doctors Medical Center of Modesto.
In response to the study, representatives from Tenet said cardiac programs at the three hospitals it still owns have improved significantly since 2003.
Joseph Parker, director of OSHPD's Healthcare Outcomes Center, said hospitals were permitted to review the data and comment on the report's findings before it was publicly released.
Tenet declined to provide a statement to be included in the state report (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/22).
The report found that the hospitals with the highest survival rates were:
- St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles;
- St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard;
- University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento; and
- Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital in Salinas.
Later this year, OSHPD is expected to release a report ranking the performance of individual doctors who perform coronary bypass surgery. The state also is compiling reports examining hospitals' death rates for all patients admitted for heart attacks, pneumonia and hip replacement surgery, as well as for complications experienced by women during childbirth.
The reports are intended to help consumers make more informed decisions when seeking medical care (Los Angeles Times, 3/22).
The OSHPD report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.