Hospital quality increases, accrediting group says

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Posted: Nov 13, 2014 4:47 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — More U.S. hospitals are giving patients the recommended treatments for common conditions, according to an annual report released Thursday by an independent accrediting group.

The number of hospitals deemed top performers totaled 1,224 last year, with at least one in every state, according to the Joint Commission's report. That compares to 1,099 in 2012 and almost double the 620 hospitals in 2011.

Hospitals are considered top performers if they provide recommended care for 95 out of every 100 patients. Hospitals self-report data and can choose which measures to report on but most include accounts of treatments for heart attacks, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care. "When hospitals work to improve on these measures, outcomes for patients get better," said Dr. Mark Chassin, the commission's president.

The commission requires most of the more than 4,000 hospitals it accredits to report performance data, and makes it public online.

The new report includes data from about 3,300 Joint Commission-accredited U.S. hospitals. More than one-third were top performers last year.

The average frequency of giving recommended treatments is also listed; in most cases there were slight improvements over the previous year. For example, on average, hospitals in the report gave recommended heart attack treatment including aspirin and beta blockers 99 percent of the time. Other averages were:

—Heart failure, prescribing one of two blood pressure drugs at discharge, 97 percent

—Pneumonia care, including antibiotics, 98 percent

—Surgery, including antibiotics given within an hour of the start of surgery, 99 percent

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Online:

Hospital reports: http://www.qualitycheck.org

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AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/LindseyTanner