In the US, there are virtually no published records regarding how good or bad doctors, hospitals and nursing homes are.
Some areas of the country have the benefit of local surveys of medical practitioners. Both New Jersey Magazine and Philadelphia Magazine do this for their respective areas. When government has tried to publish lists of doctors that collect malpractice suits, the AMA has worked to block disclosure.
According to Ken LaMance, doctors have an obligation to disclose when they have made an error. Patients need to know this in order to make informed decisions about their healthcare. The failure to disclose an error may be viewed in court itself as a form of malpractice.
Some states have created rules to enable doctors to apologize for errors. There is evidence that an apology often can head off a potential malpractice suit. However, an analysis of the laws enacted to date suggest that many are flawed and might actually hinder disclosure of errors.
However, is there any way to tell who has the worst record for errors?
As of this month, we at least know which communities offer the worst hospital care. The analysis examined readmission rates, mortality rates, and hospital grades published by hospital rating organization Leapfrog Group.
Based on these criteria, the worst 10 in the US are
- Hot Springs, AR
- Binghamtom, NY
- El Centro, CA
- Clarksville, TN
- Yuba City, CA
- Elmira, NY
- Altoona, PA
- Albany, GA
- Yakima, WA
- Visalia-Porterville, CA
If you live in these locations, why aren’t you screaming at your local and state officials to get improved oversight and healthcare? Or you could move.
The Leapfrog Group provides reports on hospitals allowing consumers to compare hospital facilities. http://www.leapfroggroup.org/compare-hospitals
I haven’t had the chance to study their work in detail, so this is not a recommendation (yet). However, in the absence of other neutral sources of information, this is worth examining.
My wife refers to a local hospital where she lived in New England as a “band-aid station” — that is, something you wouldn’t want to use for anything more serious. However, it wasn’t bad enough to make this list!
- Frohlich, Thomas, and Stebbins, Samuel, “Cities Where You Don’t Want to Get Sick,” 24/7WallStreet, 13 September 2016. http://247wallst.com/special-report/2016/09/13/cities-where-you-dont-want-to-get-sick
- LaMance, Ken, “Doctor’s Duty to Disclose,” Legal Match. http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/doctors-duty-to-disclose.html
- Mastroianni AC, Mello MM, Sommer S, Hardy M, and Gallagher TH, “The flaws in state ‘apology’ and ‘disclosure’ laws dilute their intended impact on malpractice suits,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20820016
- Robbennolt, Jennifer, “Apologies and Medical Error,” Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2009 Feb; 467(2): 376–382. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2628492/