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Miami-Dade hospitals get mixed reviews in consumer report

ImagesSeveral hospitals in South Florida came in at the bottom of patient safety rankings, and a few others came out at the top, in a study performed by Consumer Reports that compared more than 2,500 hospitals nationwide.

Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah and North Shore Medical Center scored lowest of 44 Miami-Dade hospitals, while Homestead Hospital and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center scored highest on the publication’s composite rating of five key patient safety factors. The results of the study were released Wednesday.

At the high end of the scale, Homestead Hospital and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center scored above 60 on a 100-point scale of overall patient-safety performance. Nationwide, Consumer Reports ranked 2,590 U.S. hospitals, whose scores ranged from a low of 11 to a high of 78. The factors rated include patient mortality, readmissions, overuse of CT scans, hospital-acquired infections, and communicating with patients about medications and discharge instructions. Even with this limited set of performance criteria — put together with information from public federal databases — the differences among hospitals were striking, and the Consumer Reports said hospitals need to disclose more information.

“We’re asking for more transparency,” said Dr. Doris Peter, the associate director of Consumer Reports Health, which performed the rankings. “We’re putting out a call to make more data publicly available, not only for consumers but also so doctors and hospitals can perform better.”

Among the Miami-Dade hospitals surveyed, North Shore reported 23 bloodstream infections in its intensive care patients over the past year, which is 86 percent worse than the comparable national rate. On the positive side, the hospital’s patients had zero surgical site infections for the same period.

Palmetto received CR's second-lowest rating in avoiding medical mortality, surgical-site infections and readmissions. In addition , CR found 207 percent more complications from knee replacements and 101 percent more from carotid artery surgeries than it considers normal for Palmetto’s patient mix. But Palmetto scored high on doctor-patient communication. Ninety-six percent of patients said the doctors always or usually communicated well.

Homestead Hospital and Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center attained CR's highest ratings for their appropriate use of CT scans. Both also got high marks for reporting zero infections during the measurement period: no bloodstream infections for Homestead patients, and no surgical site infections at Palm Beach Gardens. Read more.

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