Do you ever look at performance ratings and wonder about who isn’t on the list? When it comes to health care, noticing who isn’t listed is just as important as noticing who is. While TripAdvisor and Yelp can report ratings for restaurants, hotels and resorts without the consent of the establishments, the same generally isn’t true in health care. When you see ratings of hospitals, you are usually looking at facilities that have voluntarily agreed to report their results.

Why Didn't Hospitals Participate?

Here are some reasons that hospitals gave for not reporting their heart surgery success rates or for not allowing Consumer Reports to share their data:

  • Missed the deadline
  • Costs too much to report data to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS)
  • Report to STS but only allow data to appear on the STS site

Read the full article in Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports, who recently published a special report on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, asked hospitals who declined to share their data for the reasons why. The reasons varied, but most just sound like excuses. Consumers deserve information to compare their options and make an informed choice. This is especially true when undergoing a serious procedure such as cardiac surgery. With increasing awareness of the striking differences in quality and cost that exist in health care, providers have a duty – and obligation – to raise the curtain on their performance.

There are some credible reasons why a hospital may not be part of a report. They may not provide that type of care (cardiac surgery, as an example), or they may be a small hospital that does not perform enough cases in a year to have statistically valid results. These reasons aside, hospitals who refuse to participate in public reporting may, in the end, tell consumers all they need to know about the care they and their physicians deliver.

Cheryl DeMars

Cheryl DeMars

President & CEO at The Alliance
Cheryl DeMars joined The Alliance in 1992, assuming several roles before becoming CEO in December 2006. Cheryl works with the Board of Directors and senior leadership team to establish the strategic direction of the cooperative.

Cheryl participates in a number of national and regional initiatives that align with The Alliance’s mission of controlling costs, improving quality and engaging individuals in their health. She is a board member and former chair of the National Business Coalition on Health. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the board of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality.

Prior to joining The Alliance, Cheryl was a program manager at Meriter Hospital in Madison. She earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read blog posts by Cheryl.
Cheryl DeMars

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