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Robert Trigaux

Study sheds light on 'best' and 'worst' Tampa Bay area hospitals for key patient care



BrandonRegionalHospital Wake up and good morning.

How do you know which hospital to choose for such critical care issues as heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia? A new analysis is out that sheds some light nationally -- and even within the Tampa Bay area -- on the good and no-so-good hospitals.

The key, of course, is knowing this information in advance so an emergency does not make the choice of hospital for you. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Regional Hospital.)

Too many people die needlessly at U.S. hospitals, according to a sweeping new Medicare analysis showing wide variation in death rates between the best hospitals and the worst. The data are compiled by the federal government's Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and cover a three-year period from mid-2005 to 2008. The agency also has supplied the information to the hospitals included and posted them on a government Web site called Hospital Compare. USA Today also has massaged this data and made it friendly to use here.

So let's cut to the chase. Of those hospitals in the national analysis, which ones in the Tampa Bay area are the "best" (meaning lowest) or "worst" (meaning highest) based on the percentages of patient deaths for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia?

* Heart attack deaths. Best: Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater (12.2 percent). Worst: Memorial Hospital of Tampa (20.8 percent) and Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center in Crystal River (20.1 percent).

* Heart failure deaths. Best: Brandon Regional Hospital (8.9 percent) and Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey (9 percent). Worst: Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton (15.2 percent).

* Pneumonia deaths. Best: Largo Medical Center (8.9 percent). Worst: Manatee Memorial Hospital in Bradenton (14.6 percent).

There's a ton of other useful information -- including an analysis on hospital readmissions (high readmission rates suggest hospitals did not fix the patient problems in the first place). Check it out.

For example, just south of Tampa Bay, Sarasota Memorial Hospital was No. 2 in the country with the lowest readmission rate for heart attacks (15.4 percent), No. 5 in readmission for pneumonia (13.8 percent) and ranked in the top 100 in low readmission rates for heart failure.

-- Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist

[Last modified: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 11:25am]


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