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Scoring high when low is good

7/9/2009 USA Today/Health News FL

Manatee Memorial had the highest death rate in the state for heart failure patients in a comparison of hospitals' Medicare data from 2005 through 2008, according to government data. It also had one of the 10 highest death rates for heart attack and pneumonia patients.  Health News Florida ran the check on a user-friendly portal at USA Today.  

Manatee Memorial's death rate for heart failure patients within 30 days of admission was 15.2 percent. By the same measure, the heart-attack death rate at Manatee Memorial was 19.7 percent and for pneumonia was 14.6 percent, the data showed.
Four other Florida hospitals made the top-10 list for at least two diagnoses offered in the USA Today platform: Lehigh Regional Medical Center in Lehigh Acres, St. Lucie Medical Center,  Doctor's Memorial Hospital in Bonifay, and Venice Regional Medical Center.

Lehigh Regional was among the 10 highest hospitals in mortality rates in heart attack and pneumonia; St. Lucie made the top-10 list for heart attack and heart failure, and Doctor's Memorial and Venice Regional both were among the 10 highest in heart failure and pneumonia death rates. 

USA Today's national analysis showed higher death rates tended to be found in the nation's rural areas and those with low average incomes. In Florida, some of the higher-mortality hospitals were in small towns and low-income areas of cities, it's true, but some were in prosperous areas. 

The 10 Florida facilities that had the highest mortality rates within 30 days of admission were, in each category:

Heart attack:
--St. Lucie Medical Center, 21%
--Memorial Hospital of Tampa, 20.6%
--North Broward Medical Center, 20.5%
--Orange Park Medical Center, 20.2%
--Seven Rivers Regional, 20.1%
--Lehigh Regional, 20%
--Shands Jacksonville, 19.8%
--Manatee Memorial, 19.7%
--Helen Ellis Memorial in Tarpon Springs, 19.4%
--South Bay Hospital, Sun City Center, 19.2%.

Heart failure:
--Manatee Memorial, 15.2%
--Doctor's Memorial, 14.4%
--St. Lucie Medical Center, 14.4%
--Healthmark Regional Medical, 13.2%
--Indian River Memorial, 13%
--Pasco Regional, 12.9%
--Bartow Regional, 12.8%
--Venice Regional, 12.8%
--Imperial Point, 12.8%
--Blake Memorial, 12.6%

--Venice Regional, 15.8%
--Bert Fish Medical Center in New Smyrna Beach, 15%
--Manatee Memorial, 14.6%
--Lehigh Regional, 14.6%
--Doctor's Memorial, 14.6%
--Citrus Memorial in Inverness, 14.6%
--Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, 14.3%
--Shands Live Oak, 14.1%
--Sacred Heart Hospital Emerald Court in Destin, 14.1%
--(tie for 10th) Jackson Health System in Miami and Northwest Florida Community Hospital in Chipley, 13.7%.