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Medicare study: SMH outperforms most US hospitals in heart/pneumonia care

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In a nationwide government study, Sarasota Memorial once again outperformed most U.S. hospitals in caring for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a study of mortality and readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients at more than 4,000 hospitals across the nation.

Sarasota Memorial had the lowest (best) heart attack and heart failure readmission rates of any Florida hospital included in the report, and on a national level, ranked No. 2 out of more than 4,000 hospitals for the lowest heart attack readmission rates, eighth in the U.S. for heart failure readmissions and in the top 100 hospitals for lowest number of pneumonia readmissions.

The analysis covers a three-year period from mid-2006 to 2009 and recently was posted on USA Today’s website and the government’s Hospital Compare website.

For readmission rates, the study shows how often patients were readmitted within 30 days of discharge from a previous hospital stay for heart attack, heart failure, or pneumonia. The rates are all “risk-adjusted” — which means they take into account how sick patients were, and allow for equal comparison to other hospitals that may have a higher or lower acuity of care. Because of its low readmission rates, SMH was one of four hospitals that helped the VHA Inc., a national health care network, develop Leading Practices Blueprints to help hospitals shut the revolving door on return patient visits. SMH has been recognized for a number of successful patient follow-up programs including the Heart Failure Center and Anti-Coagulation Clinic.

For mortality rates, CMS ­focused on deaths of heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia patients that occur within 30 days of a patient’s admission to a hospital. SMH’s mortality rates were below national averages for each of these conditions.

Here’s a breakdown of Sarasota Memorial’s outcomes (the lower the rate, the better):
- Heart attack readmissions – 15.9 percent, which was the lowest of all hospitals measured in Florida and the second lowest in the entire U.S. The national average was 19.9 percent.
- Heart attack mortality – 13.5 percent, which was the 11th lowest in Florida and well below the national average of 16.2 percent.
- Heart failure readmissions – 19.2 percent, which was the lowest of all Florida hospitals and the eighth lowest in the U.S. The national average was 24.7 percent.
- Heart failure mortality –10.3 percent, below the national average of 11.2 percent.
- Pneumonia readmissions – 15.4 percent, which was third lowest in Florida and among the 100 lowest in the U.S. The national average was 18.3 percent.
- Pneumonia mortality – 10 percent, which is below the national average of 11.6 percent.

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