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Tuesday
Jun212011

Best, Worst Hospitals for Weight-Loss Surgery

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Hospitals that perform at least 375 weight loss operations a year have the best safety record for bariatric surgeries, while those that performed fewer than 75 a year had the highest rate of complications, according to a new study by a hospital rating group.

The complications from bariatric surgeries could include internal bleeding, a collapsed lung, and even death.

The study by HealthGrades, an independent health care ratings company, found 100 hospitals in the 19 states it surveyed that it rated as one star, or "poor performers," for weight loss operations.

Another 107 hospitals were rated five-star by the group, and 261 hospitals earned three stars. A total of 468 hospitals were studied and the survey reviewed 190,000 bariatric surgery patients treated between 2007 and 2009.

"When you're having a major procedure, a lot of times you choose a facility through word-of-mouth," said Kristin Reed, vice president of hospital rankings for HealthGrades. "But this report gives people objective information to make decisions based on real outcomes."

"We hope that hospitals use this information to compare their performance results" to those from five-star facilities and look for ways to "tighten up their practices," Reed said.

At facilities given a five-star rating, like Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Los Angeles or Saint Luke's Roosevelt Hospital in New York City, patients were nearly 70 percent less likely to experience complications.

Other five-star-rated hospitals, as rated by HealthGrades, include California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, Lowell General Hospital in Boston, Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, and Bayshore Medical Center in Houston.

Patients who went to the top ranked hospitals had shorter hospital stays and a smaller bill, saving on average $6,692 compared to patients who checked into a "1-star" hospital like University of California, Irvine, or Staten Island University.

Other 1-star-rated hospitals include Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, Temple Community Hospital in Los Angeles, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

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