Albany hospital receives five-star rating for joint replacement outcomes in study of 4,500 hospitals

May 31,2013

Choosing a hospital can be a life or death decision. Yet, according to a new Healthgrades® report, most people spend more time selecting a refrigerator.

Mortality issues aside, patients have choices, particularly when undergoing non-emergency surgeries such as joint replacement. An increasing number of patients are using clinical quality ratings and excellence awards as a basis for making an informed decision about a physician or hospital. A report released recently by Healthgrades®, the nation’s most trusted, independent source of physician information and hospital quality ratings, should help.

Among other awards, Healthgrades® gave Samaritan Albany General Hospital a five-star rating for the third year in a row - the highest possible -- for its joint replacement program.
The findings are part of American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2013: Healthgrades Report to the Nation, which evaluates the performance of approximately 4,500 hospitals nationwide across nearly 30 of the most common conditions and procedures. Healthgrades bases its objective measures solely on clinical outcomes and performance.

"This recognition is truly an honor,” said David Triebes, Samaritan Albany General Hospital CEO. ”Quality is an ongoing process, and we use these measurements to continually make improvements. Congratulations to our orthopedic surgeons, nurses, rehab specialists and support staff for their enthusiastic commitment to exceptional patient care."

Samaritan Albany General Hospital and Samaritan Mid-Valley Orthopedics introduced the joint replacement program in 2008 with the commitment to achieve superior results through patient education and a holistic team approach to care. In addition to recognition from Healthgrades®, the program enjoys a 95 percent overall satisfaction rating from its patients.

Just ask Samaritan patient 73-year-old Barry Wulff. A recipient of two joint replacement surgeries during 2011-2012, this Philomath resident credits his new lease on life to the hospital’s comprehensive joint replacement program, which emphasizes advanced preparation, education, group therapy and long-term outcomes tracking for all of its patients.

“The program in Albany is incredible,” said Wulff. “From pre-op to post-op therapy, absolutely everything was planned out for me. I was really well taken care of throughout the entire process. If you follow the guidelines they develop for you, you will absolutely have a successful recovery.”

An avid hiker all his life, by the end of 2012, Wulff had fully recovered from his two surgeries and had hiked 400 miles and climbed 35,000 feet. He hopes to reach 500 miles this year. “It’s all due to my great doctors, good therapy and being in good condition going into surgery,” he said.

Orthopedic surgery achievements for Samaritan Albany General Hospital include:

  • Ranked #6 in Oregon for joint replacement in 2013
  • Ranked among the top 10 in Oregon for joint replacement for three years in a row (2011-2013)
  • Five-star recipient for joint replacement for three years in a row (2011-2013)
  • Five-star recipient for total knee replacement for three years in a row (2011-2013)
  • Five-star recipient for total hip replacement for three years in a row (2011-2013)

Healthgrades also released new research conducted by Harris Interactive that underscores the importance of educating consumers on clinical outcomes. For example, a majority of Americans are not aware there is data available on risk factors such as the chance of dying at a given hospital or complication rates. In fact, a wide variation in quality exists among American hospitals, according to the Healthgrades report. Patients were 61 percent less likely to experience a major in-hospital complication when being treated at a hospital receiving five stars when compared with hospitals receiving one star across a range of common procedures, such as total knee replacement, gall bladder and spine surgeries.

The Healthgrades study also found that from 2009 through 2011:
  • A total of 183,534 in-hospital complications could have been avoided during hospital stays if all hospitals performed at a five-star level.
  • Patients were 42 percent less likely to experience an in-hospital complication in hospitals receiving five stars versus all other hospitals (those receiving one to four stars).

For its 2013 hospital quality outcomes analysis, Healthgrades evaluated approximately 40 million Medicare hospitalization records for services performed from 2009 through 2011 at approximately 4,500 short-term, acute care hospitals nationwide. Healthgrades® independently measures hospitals based on data that hospitals submit to the federal government. No hospital can opt in or out of the analysis, and no hospital pays to be measured. Mortality and complication rates are risk adjusted, which takes into account each hospital’s unique population.

The American Hospital Quality Outcomes 2013: Healthgrades Report to the Nation, including the complete methodology, can be found at healthgrades.com/quality.

For more information about Samaritan Albany General Hospital’s Joint Replacement Program, visit samhealth.org/Orthopedics or call 541-812-5050.