Best Hospitals For Safety: Consumer Reports Issues Safety Score For Hospitals

By: CBS News (Posted by Josh Mabry)
By: CBS News (Posted by Josh Mabry)

(CBS News) People go to hospitals to get better, but far too often, the opposite happens.

About 180,000 patients die in hospitals each year. And they're dying from mistakes and substandard care.

In a new study, Consumer Reports rates hospitals with a safety score, and most are not making the grade.

Consumer Reports looked at more than 2,000 hospitals with an eye on hospital-acquired infections, re-admission rates, lack of communication around medications and discharges, the overuse of CT scans and rate of complications.

Dr. John Santa, director of Consumer Reports' Health Ratings Center, said on "CBS This Morning" Thursday, "We're very disappointed. We were shocked that this remains a huge problem. Hospitals are dangerous places to be."

Santa said hospitals appear to be doing so poorly because, on safety, "our sense is their CEOs aren't making it priority one." He added, "They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk. ... I'm sad to say I think in many hospitals the number one priority is making money."

Consumer Reports, Santa said, hopes the report will activate consumers to assert themselves.

"They (need to) know, this is not like an airplane where everything is being done, a checklist, it's being watched carefully, you can depend on the pilot. No," said Santa. "Family has to be there, patients have to be constructively assertive. They need to be asking questions, participating in their care. Two, we hope that this public pressure gets those CEOs to change their priorities."

Asked which hospitals did the best for safety, Santa pointed to the Mayo Clinics in the subset of teaching hospitals. He said, "The Mayo Clinic in the three states -- it's in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota -- those three hospitals were all near the top. They have a very strong culture; they have their priorities set. It's a good example to follow."

Santa said the key is culture in leadership: "Their leaders are in charge of that."

For more with Santa, watch his full "CTM" appearance in the video above.

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