Sparrow Responds to Poor Surgical Ranking Consumer Report

Sparrow Hospital says a Consumer Report that ranked it at the bottom in terms of surgeries is flawed. We first told you about the rating earlier this month, but Thursday Sparrow responded in detail to the study. Brian Johnson tells us what the hospital is doing to improve its performance.

  • Surgery means life or death, so it's scary to think that up to 30 percent of Medicare patients-- our parents-- experience avoidable complications after commonly scheduled surgeries, according to Consumer Reports.

  • While St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Howell scored excellent in the report, McLaren Greater Lansing scored average, and Sparrow earned the lowest score possible--poor.

  • "Quality is never a destination, it's always part of the journey and we are continually reviewing what we are doing and comparing ourselves with the very best," said Brian Schroeder, Sparrow's Chief Medical Officer.

  • The scores are based off the percentage of Medicare patients 65 or older who stayed longer than expected or died after a surgery. The data comes from billing claims from 2009 through 2011 and compares nearly 2,500 hospitals throughout the country.

  • "Being fully transparent, there's a lot of areas Sparrow has to work on. We work daily trying to improve quality, but that being said we take pride in a lot of our rankings at Hospital Compare and the progress we've made," said John Berg, Sparrow's Executive Director of Strategic Market Development.

  • Hospital Compare is a government-run health care comparison site. The folks at Sparrow believe the Consumer Report findings are flawed. "It penalized hospitals with major trauma centers," said Berg. "We are a level one regional trauma center, we take care of some of the worst patients in Mid-Michigan and that's our role."

  • Consumer Reports hopes the report will motivate hospitals to improve care and increase transparency. Sparrow isn't the only hospital to get a bad score. Some satellite campuses with big names like John Hopkins, and the Mayo Clinics also did poorly.

  • Out of the 10 largest hospitals in the state that see more than 27,000 patients a year, three others scored below average. We tried to conduct get an on-camera interview with McLaren, but no one was available for comment for this story.

  • "Patient safety and quality are the two things that Sparrow is most interested in," said Schroeder. The Consumer Report suggests that electronic medical records will improve health care, which is one thing Sparrow representatives are quick to agree with. Sparrow has already made the switch to electronic medical records.

  • Consumer Reports says its is the best, most comprehensive study out there using existing data. That said, some experts say it doesn't account for external factors that might delay hospital stays, and therefore lower a hospital's score. The data is based on billing claims rather than from patient's clinical data.

  • The report says Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak has the worst ratings for knee replacement. It also gives St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, the lowest rating for coronary angioplasty, a procedure used to remove blockages in the arteries.

  • Play

    Click on the image above for the full video news report from FOX 47 News