Skip to main content

Odds of Survival Much Higher at Top U.S. Hospitals

Photo taken by Carlos Paes. There are no usage restrictions for this photo

The odds of coming out alive from top-tier U.S. hospitals are significantly higher than at the bulk of the nation’s medical facilities, a new report reveals.

Medicare patients at hospitals ranked in the top 5 percent have a 27 percent lower chance of dying and a 14 percent lower risk of developing complications.

The conclusion, by an independent healthcare ratings company called HealthGrades, was based on an examination of nearly 39 million hospitalizations of Medicare recipients in 2002, 2003 and 2004 at all 5,122 of the nation's nonfederal hospitals.

According to the National Academy of Science, which sites separate studies, somewhere between 44,000 and 98,000 people die every year due to medical errors in U.S. medical facilities.

The  new study is the fourth annual put out by the rating company.

"The data in this year's study indicate a clear and profound divergence between the best hospitals and all others," said Samantha Collier, an MD and HealthGrades' vice president of medical affairs. “This growing 'quality chasm' is of concern to healthcare professionals and patients alike."

HealthGrades profits by selling the full results of its surveys to insurance companies and to physicians and health care facilities that wish to market their high rankings.

You can get basic ranking information from the company on physicians and hospitals in your area here.

Robert Roy Britt
Rob was a writer and editor at starting in 1999. He served as managing editor of Live Science at its launch in 2004. He is now Chief Content Officer overseeing media properties for the sites’ parent company, Purch. Prior to joining the company, Rob was an editor at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, and in 1998 he was founder and editor of the science news website ExploreZone. He has a journalism degree from Humboldt State University in California.