Connecticut hospitals don't earn top ratings

Connecticut is the only New England state - and one of just three nationally - to have no hospitals designated as "Top Performers" by The Joint Commission, which issues an annual report gauging the performance of more than 3,300 accredited hospitals on 45 accountability measures linked to positive patient outcomes.

The commission's report lists 620 hospitals in 47 states that it says are "leading the way nationally in using evidence-based care processes closely linked to positive patient outcomes." Every state has at least one hospital on the list except Connecticut, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Ten hospitals in Massachusetts, four in Maine, four in New Hampshire, three in Vermont and one in Rhode Island were designated as top performers.

The Joint Commission report notes that many hospitals not recognized as top performers "are still performing well on accountability measures, but there is room for improvement."

Michele Sharp, spokeswoman for the Connecticut Hospital Association, said Connecticut's 30 acute-care hospitals are all "improving the quality of care they provide. Additionally, this report shows just one part of the hospital quality picture and may not be relevant for some patients."

She said many other factors are important when choosing where to receive care, such as where a physician practices, specialty care a patient may need, insurance coverage, and how close the hospital is to the patient's home.

"We encourage patients to use this information to talk with their physician and caregivers to make the right choice for their own care," she said.

Of the 620 hospitals recognized as 'Top Performers on Key Quality Measures," 26 percent are rural hospitals, 45 percent are nonprofit hospitals, and 49 percent have between 100 and 300 beds.

Major teaching hospitals account for 5 percent of the recipients.

The number of hospitals recognized by the Joint Commission increased more than 50 percent from the list's debut last year, when one Connecticut hospital - Griffin, in Derby - made the cut.

The top-performer designation is based on performance related to accountability measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children's asthma care, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism (VTE) care, and stroke care.

Each of the top performers met two 95 percent performance thresholds on 2011 accountability measure data. Each hospital achieved performance of 95 percent or above on composite scores that include all the accountability measures for which it reports data to The Joint Commission - one for measures with at least 30 eligible cases, and the other including measures with fewer patients.

The full list of Top Performers on Key Quality Measures is available at www.jointcommission.org.

This story was reported under a partnership with the Connecticut Health I-Team (www.c-hit.org).

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