If you are a heart patient or at risk of cardiovascular disease, you need to consider where you’ll go if you need heart surgery. Not all hospitals are equal.
In the event of a sudden heart attack or other emergency, you may have little choice but to call 9-1-1 and go to your nearest emergency room. When you do have the ability to choose, don’t automatically pick the hospital closest to you.
You can get admitted to virtually any hospital in the country (or even opt for treatment in a foreign country). Most U.S. hospitals accept Medicare patients. In matters of life or death, choose the best.
Consider the hospital scores recently published by Consumer Reports (August 2014).
The following 15 hospitals are the only ones to earn a top score for heart bypass and valve surgeries:
- Baystate Medical Center (Springfield, MA)
- Borgess Medical Center (Kalamazoo, MI)
- Cleveland Clinic (Cleveland, OH)
- Kaiser Permanente Sunnyside (Clackamas, OR)
- Kaleida Health (Buffalo, NY)
- Mother Francis Hospital (Tyler, TX)
- Sequoia Hospital (Redwood City, CA)
- Spectrum Health (Grand Rapids, MI)
- St. Joseph Mercy Hospital (Ypsilanti, MI)
- St. Joseph’s Hospital (Syracuse, NY)
- St. Vincent Heart Center (Indianapolis, IN)
- Swedish Medical Center-Cherry Hill (Seattle, WA)
- The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano (Plano, TX)
- UMass Medical Center (Worcester, MA)
- Valley Hospital (Ridgewood, NJ)
Another Great Suggestion to
Find Top-Notch Hospitals
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is an independent, nonprofit organization which conducts quality assessments of hospitals. JCAHO accreditation cannot be achieved unless a hospital meets standards in 28 different performance areas (among these are patient care, medication use, operative procedures, staff standards, laboratory performance, emergency services, and infection control).
JCAHO ratings are open to the public. To find a hospital’s accreditation status, call JCAHO (630-792- 5800) or visit their web site (www.jcaho.org).
Another way to screen hospitals is through a web site called Why Not the Best? (www.whynotthebest.org), which tracks performance measurements for nearly 5,000 medical facilities nationwide. Developed by the Commonwealth Fund, the site is intended primarily as a reference guide for medical professionals. But as a proactive patient, you can use the professional-grade ranking system to identify the best hospitals in your area, including the best by specialty (such as treating heart failure).