Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Check in and die

Hospitals low in safety ratings

By David Baker
Posted Saturday July 11, 2009

Two hospitals in the Capital Region have come out badly in a federal government analysis of data relating to causes of death.

Samaritan Hospital in Troy and Albany Memorial Hospital were both in the bottom 4 percent out of 4,188 hospitals in the country for their mortality rates for patients with heart failure.

But a spokeswoman for Northeast Health – which operates both hospitals – had an excuse: The numbers are inaccurate. In fact, she claims, there has been an improvement in the mortality rate but it is not reflected in the federal data because it is an average of three years.

So how much better is their rating now than the bottom 4 percent? Maybe up to the bottom 5 percent?

Evidently, she didn’t say.

But you can bet that if the survey had given the hospitals a high rating, they would have been using it to boast about how wonderful they are. They might even trumpet it in announcements in the area’s newspapers, adding even more money to the huge amount they have poured into papers’ coffers over the past 10 years, while the newspapers – just coincidentally, of course – have ignored virtually every malpractice lawsuit filed against medical providers over that time.

The hospital ratings Website is at: