HealthGrades, a for-profit health care ratings company, recently released their 13th Annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study. (Jump to page 92 in the report to see Mississippi’s state scores.)
Their “grades” are from 2007-2009 Medicare data. HealthGrades offers very limited information for public use through its Web site, although more detailed information may be available for purchase.
"We think HealthGrades provides one view of the health care picture. But it's not the whole picture,” said Marcella McKay, PhD, President/CEO of the Mississippi Hospital Association Health Research & Educational Foundation. “They have chosen a few areas to compare across the state’s Medicare population. It can be a helpful consumer tool, but should by no means be the only tool.”
Health care performance data can be obtained from multiple sources, including state and federal governments, national accrediting bodies, research organizations, professional associations, health plans, employers, vendors that pool data from multiple plans or employers, and directly from providers. All of these entities “grade” hospitals on different measures in different ways. As a consumer, it’s important to understand what is being measured (and thus what is being “graded”) in order to determine if the information is meaningful to you.
In 2005, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the Hospital Quality Alliance, launched the Hospital Compare Web site to provide in-depth information on quality at hospitals across the country. All of the information is free and can be found at www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov.