Consumer Reports rates 2K hospitals, puts ARH in state’s top 23

Published 12:02 am Thursday, September 5, 2013

Andalusia Regional Hospital was one of 21 Alabama hospitals that received a rating of “good” in a recent Consumer Reports analysis of surgery-related complications with Medicare patients.

The magazine analyzed 2,463 hospitals across the United States using Medicare claims data from 2009 through 2011 for patients who had 27 specific and commonly-schedule surgeries, including back surgery, hip or knee replacements, and procedures to remove blockages in arteries in the heart (angioplasty) or neck (carotid artery surgery). The resulting ratings, determined with the help of the MPA health care consulting firm, were based on the percentage of a hospital’s surgery patients who died in the hospital or stayed longer than expected for their procedure. Because it uses Medicare data, the analysis only takes into consideration outcomes for patients 65 and older.

Forty-one Alabama hospitals made the list, and only two were rated “very good.” ARH was ranked “good” alongside Mobile’s Providence Hospital, Montgomery’s Baptist Medical Center East and Birmingham’s Princeton Baptist Medical Center.

“Naturally, I was disappointed that Andalusia Regional Hospital was not rated ‘very good,’ ” ARH chief executive officer Rebecca Brewer said. “I feel we have a very strong surgical program with great surgeons, nurses and anesthesia providers. However, I was pleased to be recognized with twenty other Alabama hospitals as having a good program. It is always great to get the recognition Andalusia Regional Hospital deserves.”

The magazine received some criticism for its ratings.

“We are concerned that the methods used to generate these performance ratings have not been validated against gold-standard measures,” David M. Shahian, M.D., vice president of the Lawrence Center for Quality and Safety at Massachusetts General Hospital, told Consumer Reports. “They are based on claims data rather than clinical data from patient records.”

And the magazine reminded readers that ratings are just one indication of a hospital’s performance.

“There are a lot of dimensions to hospital quality, and no single measure captures everything,” said Peter Cram, M.D., director of general medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.


Alabama hospitals and their Consumer Report ratings follow:

• Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital, Phenix City, very good

• Thomas Hospital, Fairhope, very good

• Andalusia Regional Hospital, Andalusia, good

• Baptist Medical Center East, Montgomery, good

• Crestwood Medical Center, Huntsville, good

• Cullman Regional Medical Center, Cullman, good

• DeKalb Regional Medical Center, Fort Payne, good

• Helen Keller Hospital, Sheffield, good

• Jackson Hospital and Clinic, Montgomery, good

• Marshall Medical Center North, Guntersville, good

• Marshall Medical Center South, Boaz, good

• Medical Center Enterprise, Enterprise, good

• Medical West, Bessemer, good

• Northport Medical Center, Northport, good

• Princeton Baptist Medical Center, Birmingham, good

• Providence Hospital, Mobile, good

• Russell Medical Center, Alexander City, good

• Russellville Hospital, Russellville, good

• Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Alabaster, good

• South Baldwin Regional Medical Center, Foley, good

• Stringfellow Memorial Hospital, Anniston, good

• Vaughan Regional Medical Center, Selma, good

• Walker Baptist Medical Center, Jasper, good

• DCH Regional Medical Center, Tuscaloosa, fair

• Flowers Hospital, Dothan, fair

• Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, fair

• Northeast Alabama Regional Medical Center, Anniston, fair

• Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Dothan, fair

• Baptist Medical Center South, Montgomery, poor

• Brookwood Medical Center, Birmingham, poor

• Decatur General Hospital, Decatur, poor

• East Alabama Medical Center, Opelika, poor

• Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital, Florence, poor

• Gadsden Regional Medical Center, Gadsden, poor

• Mobile Infirmary Medical Center, Mobile, poor

• Riverview Regional Medical Center, Gadsden, poor

• Springhill Memorial Hospital, Mobile, poor

• St. Vincent’s Birmingham, Birmingham, poor

• St. Vincent’s East, Birmingham, poor

• Trinity Medical Center, Birmingham, poor

• University of Alabama Hospital, Birmingham, poor