Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Consumer Reports rates local hospitals on surgery outcomes for seniors

TAMPA — Just two weeks ago, Tampa General Hospital celebrated its ranking by U.S. News & World Report as the second-best hospital in Florida.

But this week a Consumer Reports guide put Tampa General at the bottom of the list in Florida when it comes to how elderly patients do after surgeries. Joining TGH in the back of the pack were Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, Shands at the University of Florida and Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Near the top of the list? St. Anthony's Hospital in St. Petersburg and Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness.

The local rankings fit into a surprising overall theme of the new Consumer Reports guide: Many of the nation's best-regarded hospitals didn't do as well as their smaller, lesser-known counterparts.

How Consumer Reports reached its conclusions is somewhat controversial. Researchers analyzed Medicare claims data from 2009 to 2011 for more than two dozen procedures, including back surgery, vascular surgery, and hip and knee replacements. Consumer Reports then evaluated the hospitals based on whether patients died in the hospital or stayed longer than expected after their surgeries.

TGH spokesman John Dunn said billing data does not give as full as a picture as clinical records. A patient coming in for a hip replacement, for instance, may have myriad existing problems that complicate recovery.

He added that TGH, as a safety net hospital, takes "the sickest of the sick." On the whole, teaching hospitals such as TGH did not do better than average in the rankings.

"I think the fundamental weakness is they're relying on billing data," Dunn said.

Doris Peter, associate director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, said researchers developed a model to take into account pre-existing complications. For instance, medical codes indicate whether a surgical patient is admitted with hypertension, she said, so the model makes allowances.

"The idea is that these models adjust for these problems," she said.

BayCare Health System, Tampa Bay's largest health care provider, includes both the high-ranking St. Anthony's and low-ranking Morton Plant Hospital. Spokeswoman Beth Hardy said patients shouldn't use only the Consumer Reports guide when making a decision about where to get surgery. "It's one tool in the toolbox," she said.

For one, it looks only at older patients. "It's unlikely these data are a good idea of what non-Medicare patients should expect," she said. Also, she noted, hospitals often keep elderly patients in their care longer because they don't have anyone to help them at home while recuperating.

Peter, the Consumer Reports director, acknowledged that the ratings are just one indication of a hospital's performance. "It's not a perfect proxy," she said. She said researchers didn't have an explanation for why the smaller community hospitals did better than the larger ones. Critics of their method, she said, had expected the exact opposite.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

Consumer Reports rates local hospitals on surgery outcomes for seniors 08/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 2, 2013 8:07am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series

    Ml

    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  2. Review: Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shower love, star power on Tampa's Amalie Arena

    Blogs

    Near the end of their potent new duet Break First, Tim McGraw stopped singing, and let Faith Hill's powerhouse voice take over.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Oct. 20, 2017.
  3. Senate to take up AUMF debate as Trump defends reaction to Niger attack

    World

    WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is taking up a long-awaited debate about authorizing military force against the Islamic State as President Trump comes under unprecedented public scrutiny for his treatment of dead soldiers' families, following an ambush on troops helping to fight Islamic …

  4. In fear and vigilance, a Tampa neighborhood holds its breath

    K12

    TAMPA — There was a time, not long ago, when Wayne Capaz would go for a stroll at night and Christina Rodriguez would shop whenever she wanted. Michael Fuller would go to his night job as a line cook, not too worried about his wife at home.

    More than 50 people gathered and walked in the Southeast Seminole Heights community Friday to pay respects to the victims of three shootings. The crowd took a moment of silence at the corner of 11th Street and East New Orleans where Monica Hoffa was found dead. [JONATHAN CAPRIEL  |  Times]
  5. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.