Hospital Choice Can Mean the Difference between Life & Death

March 12th, 2015

Hospital Choice Can Mean the Difference between Life and Death

In-depth examination of high-risk surgeries

Novi, Michigan:  Nonprofit hospital watchdog The Leapfrog Group today released its report, “Predicting Patient Survival of High-Risk Surgeries,” which shows that across U.S. hospitals, the survival rates for four high-risk procedures varies significantly and that most hospitals surveyed do not meet Leapfrog’s standard for each procedure. The results, demonstrate that the choice of hospital for these operations can mean the difference between life and death.  The Economic Alliance for Michigan (EAM) is the Leapfrog Group coordinator for Michigan.

The in-depth examination looked at survival rates of four high-risk surgeries, including: removing all or part of the pancreas (pancreatectomy), removing all or part of the esophagus (esophagectomy), repair of the major vessel supplying blood to the body (abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA) and replacement of the aortic valve in the heart (AVR).

“Every year, millions of Americans undergo surgery, and this report clearly demonstrates that the choice of hospital is one of the most important decisions a patient can make. We strongly encourage consumers to examine their local hospitals’ performance on these high-risk procedures, as the data on survival rates enables patients to gauge their likelihood of surviving each procedure at a given hospital. The difference in lives lost from hospital to hospital can be substantial and this data can’t be accessed anywhere else,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of Leapfrog. “This report also provides a call to action for hospitals, who must continue to work toward better and more consistent surgical outcomes.”

Nationally, only 37 hospitals in the survey fully meet the standards of all four high-risk surgeries.  Two of those hospitals reside in Michigan:  Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids and University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor.

“To have two out of 37 hospitals nationwide meeting all four high-risk standards located in Michigan says a lot about our state’s incredible health care system.  We applaud Spectrum Health and University of Michigan Health Systems for their efforts,” said EAM President Bret Jackson.  “Improving these high-risk surgery outcomes among all hospitals will contribute to lowering health care costs.”

The complete report on High-Risk Procedures is available online. Other publicly available resources include:

Today’s report is the second in a series of six reports examining key quality and safety measures at hospitals nationwide, based on data taken from the 2014 Leapfrog Hospital Survey of 1,501 U.S. hospitals and analyzed by Castlight Health. The first report on maternity care, as well as future publications in the report series, will be available at

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