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37% of Hospitals Get Top Quality Marks from The Joint Commission

By Jennifer Bresnick

Hospital quality has improved steadily over the past few years, The Joint Commission says in its latest report identifying top performing hospitals.

- More than a third of the nation’s hospitals that report accountability measure performance data to The Joint Commission have been designated as top performers, according to the organization’s annual report, which marks a 15.8% improvement over quality measures since 2002.  There is at least one top-performing hospital in each state, with 147 facilities making the grade for the past four years in a row.

“America’s hospitals continue to make dramatic strides toward the highly reliable use of evidence-based interventions that increase the chances of healthy outcomes,” says The Joint Commission President and CEO Mark R. Chassin, MD, PACP, MPP, MPH. “Each year, the quality standards’ bar is raised and hospitals have responded to the challenge.  This year, 1,224 hospitals have earned recognition by the Top Performer on Key Quality Measures program – an 11 percent increase from last year.”

“The Joint Commission recognizes the extraordinary efforts that Top Performer hospitals have made to significantly improve the quality of health care. We encourage all hospitals to continue to strive for continuous excellence in the care they provide.”

Key findings from the report include:

• Seven hundred and eighteen hospitals, or 21.6% of the total number of hospitals, missed making the list by missing the required 95% performance grade on just one measure, but are considered on track to make the list soon.  Thirty-eight percent of the 673 “on track” hospitals from 2013 have made the top performer list in 2014.

• The number of academic medical centers on the top performer list has increased from four in 2011 to 35 in 2013.  “This performance is particularly impressive given their size and the complexity of their care delivery processes,” the report notes.

• Seven hundred and twelve facilities have made the list for the past two years, while 314 have enjoyed three consecutive terms on the honor roll.

• Forty-four top performer hospitals voluntarily reported on five or more core measure sets in 2013, a year before the Joint Commission increased the number of required core measure sets from four to six.  Those hospitals surpassed the 95% performance threshold on all chosen measures.

• The composite results for heart attack care in 2013 was 99 percent, which means that hospitals provided an evidence-based treatment plan in 990 out of 1000 opportunities to do so. The pneumonia care rate is 97.6 percent, while children’s asthma care is 96.2 percent.  Inpatient Psychiatric services sits at 90.3 percent, but has improved from 80.5 percent in 2009.

“As readers peruse the national performance tables in this report, they will notice the regularity at which hospitals are achieving performance of 95 percent or above on many measures,” Chassin said. “It’s important to remember that improving to this level was not easy and took many years, and that we still have a long way to go on these and other measures of quality health care.”

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