Health Watch: New Gov. Tool Allows Comparison of Hospital Mortality Rates

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new website is making waves in the health care world by letting people see the survival rates for certain conditions in all hospitals, then seemlessly compare the results to other hospitals!

It's called Hospital Compare. It works by taking mortality rates for pneumonia, heart attack and heart failure and letting the reader select area hospitals, then see how each stacks up to the others and how they compare to the national average.

All you need is a ZIP code, a state or county and of course, the name of the hospital.

The Department of Health & Human Services picks no bones about the purpose of this tool: to help you and your doctor decide which facility is better suited for your needs.

For example, the national average for 30-day mortality (death) rate for a heart attack is 16.1%.  St. Bernard's Medical Center is below the average at 14.7%, while Arkansas Methodist Medical Center is above the average at 18%.

However, when you look at the 30-day mortality rate for pneumonia, the national average is 11.4%. St. Bernard's Medical Center ranks above the national average at 16%. NEA Medical Center sits at 12.2%, still above the national average but almost 4 percentage points below St. Bernard's.

Heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia were selected as benchmarks because they are widely used to gauge a hospital's overall performance.

To try the tool out for yourself, click the link next to this story titled "Hospital Compare."

Questions or comments? Click here to e-mail me!