Journalists should take hospital ratings with a healthy dose of skepticism, according to experts at a recent AHCJ New York chapter event. Simply looking at an institution’s overall rating is just the start. Reporting that without understanding what’s being rated and how “success” is measured does a disservice to your audience.
Ratings are far from perfect and are ever evolving. That leaves journalists in kind of a quandary, noted chapter president Trudy Lieberman. “What do we do about the ratings, how do we judge them, how do we use them in our stories and which ones should we use?” Continue reading
AHCJ just updated and simplified its version of the hospital mortality and readmission data available exclusively to members.
Going back to 2008 for mortality and 2009 for readmission, journalists can download spreadsheet files to filter and find hospitals with histories of worse or better expected rates of patient outcomes within 30 days of discharge. Continue reading
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) thinks Indiana University may be on to something when it comes to more effective nursing home care. It recently announced a second round of funding for Project OPTIMISTIC, which stands for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. Continue reading
When I told a friend at Health Journalism 2016 that I would be attending and writing a short post on the “health ratings” session, she replied “I do not write about quality ratings!”
I’ve felt this same fatigue myself.
But the four panelists at the session, “Rating health care providers, when journalists measure quality” showed how ratings reports can be an important tool in covering either your local area or getting at national stories. Continue reading
Research from the Health Care Pricing Project shows that when hospitals have a monopoly in a market, prices are 15.3 percent higher than prices in hospitals where there are four or more hospitals, even after controlling for costs in those markets.
No doubt there’ll be lots of talk about hospital consolidations at AHCJ’s upcoming Health Journalism 16 conference in Cleveland. At one session in particular, Zack Cooper, Ph.D., an assistant professor of health policy and of economics at Yale University, will talk about the research he and his colleagues published last year on how hospital consolidations affect what hospitals charge consumers and insurers. Continue reading