Thomson Reuters' 2009 Top 100 CV hospitals winners improve care, cut costs
Thomson Reuters today released its annual study identifying the 100 U.S. hospitals that set the nation's benchmarks for inpatient cardiovascular care, examining the performance of 971 hospitals by analyzing outcomes for patients diagnosed with heart failure and heart attacks.

This study, in its 11th year and using the two most recent years of data, focuses on general and applicable specialty, short-term, acute-care, non-federal U.S. hospitals. The researchers focused on hospitals that treat a broad spectrum of cardiology patients, including those undergoing care for acute MI and heart failure, or undergoing PCI and CABG.

Overall, the study, found that the top 100 cardiovascular hospitals (available here) have:
  • 17 percent lower mortality rates for heart attack patients;
  • 10 percent lower mortality rates for heart failure patients;
  • 27 percent lower mortality for bypass surgery patients;
  • 22 percent lower mortality following PCI; and
  • Almost 12 percent shorter average hospital stay.

Also, Thomson Reuters said this year’s 100 Top Hospitals: Cardiovascular Benchmarks winners show a 12 percent lower cost in treating cardiovascular patients, as well as better clinical efficiency, with patients returning to daily life an average two-thirds of a day earlier than in peer hospitals.

The researchers also noted that mortality rates for cardiovascular care across all hospitals are declining so much that 97 percent of cardiovascular patients who receive inpatient care are surviving, and more than 99 percent are complication-free.

However, the 100 top performing hospitals perform more than 50 percent more cardiac surgeries, compared with peer hospitals.

The researchers assigned each hospital to one of three peer groups according to its teaching and residency program status: Teaching Hospitals with Cardiovascular Residency Programs had 30 winners; Teaching Hospitals without Cardiovascular Residency Programs had 40 winners; and the Community Hospitals had 30 winners.

"These hospitals provide balanced high performance across cardiovascular services. This means they are providing high quality and highly efficient care at a reasonable cost in comparison to peers across the U.S.," said Jean Chenoweth, senior vice president for performance improvement and 100 Top Hospitals programs at Thomson Reuters.

The data come from public sources: the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review data set, the Medicare Cost Report and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare data set.