Christ Hospital ranked Cincinnati's best

Thursday, October 29, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

A new system intended to help patients judge medical care has ranked Christ Hospital Cincinnati's best.

HCIA Inc., a medical information firm, and the American Health Network (AHN) have ranked hospitals in several major U.S. cities using a formula based on criteria such as reputation, quality of care and patient service.

This is the list, in order, of the region's top hospitals, as ranked by HCIA Inc. and the American Health Network.
  • Christ Hospital
  • Bethesda Hospital
  • Good Samaritan Hospital
  • University Hospital
  • Jewish Hospital
  • St. Elizabeth Medical Center
  • Franciscan Hospital-Mount Airy
  • Mercy Hospital Anderson
  • St. Luke Hospital-West
  • Deaconess Hospital
  • Franciscan Hospital-Western Hills
  • St. Luke Hospital-East
  • Dearborn County Hospital
  • Clermont Mercy Hospital
  • Brown County General Hospital

    * Several hospitals, such as Children's, were not included because they did not fit measurable categories.

  • The rankings were devised as a way to reward medical excellence and to let consumers judge their health care, said J. Tod Fetherling, president of AHN. Hospitals received Mercury Awards at a ceremony Wednesday night.

    While Christ was designated top hospital overall, other medical centers recognized were Bethesda and Good Samaritan hospitals. Using three core areas -- cardiology, oncology and orthopedics -- 15 area hospitals were ranked, excluding some specializing outside the core areas, such as Children's Hospital.

    "Obviously, whenever our hospitals are recognized with an award, we are pleased and proud," said Lori Deaton, spokeswoman with the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, whose hospitals include Christ.

    "But this is one tool, one more peer comparison tool, we will use to continue to improve upon our services," she said.

    To develop the rankings, HCIA analyzed government reports for information such as mortality rates and Medicare cost reports, along with market share and the number of staff per patient. It has released other reports for hospitals in Baltimore, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

    Analysts say consumers can expect health-care studies to become more frequent. The demand for information is growing, from patients and from the insurance companies and government agencies paying for health care, said Dr. Paul Hofmann, senior vice president of Aon Consulting, a Chicago-based advisory firm for the health-care industry.

    A former hospital administrator, Dr. Hofmann advises that the reports must be viewed with caution. The availability of statistically valid measures is limited, he said, and the reports are evolving and will likely be refined in future years.

    Reports such as the one developed by HCIA and the AHN could lead to improvements and cost reductions at some hospitals, he said. But "the danger is interpreting these reports without recognizing that they are imperfect," he added.

    Christ Hospital in Mount Auburn was recognized for quality of care and its market reputation, Mr. Fetherling said. It was also honored for having the best cardiology care in the region. Bethesda Hospital was honored as tops in oncology care and Good Samaritan in orthopedics care.

    Others recognized were Jewish Hospital and University Hospital. Overall, the hospitals in the Cincinnati market rated closely, said John R. Morrow, senior vice president of HCIA. An example of that is that St. Luke Hospital-West, which ranked ninth overall, was best in quality of care.

    "Health care in Cincinnati is excellent," said Richard Meyer, director of oncology at Good Samaritan. "The competition is great here."

    Jeff Blunt, spokesman for TriHealth, said the organization is proud of the performance by Bethesda and Good Samaritan.

    "We're happy to get the recognition," he said. "Two out of the top three is something to be proud of."

    The Mercury Award joins a list of others honors Christ Hospital has won. Modern Healthcare magazine's Oct. 12 issue said Christ was the most preferred hospital for overall health-care services in Greater Cincinnati.

    It was the third year in a row Christ Hospital had attained that rank.

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