Consumer Reports: Summit Medical Center ranks last in Colorado for surgery |

Consumer Reports: Summit Medical Center ranks last in Colorado for surgery

Joe Moylan
A Consumer Reports study released this month ranks St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco the worst Colorado hospital in terms of post-surgery complications. Hospital execs have challenged the report, calling the data analyzed as "narrowly based."

St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco ranked last among Colorado hospitals in regards to adverse events connected to various types of surgeries, according to this month’s edition of Consumer Reports.

But hospital executives do not agree the report provides an accurate interpretation of the quality of care delivered by St. Anthony Summit Medical Center.

The Consumer Reports article, titled “Your safer-surgery survival guide,” ranks 2,463 hospitals in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico on measurements commonly used by health care institutions to track quality, the report stated.

Specifically, the Consumer Reports study focused on Medicare recipients aged 65 and older who between 2009 and 2011 underwent one of 27 different surgeries.

Consumer Reports worked with Michael Pine and Associates Inc., a health care consulting firm headquartered in Chicago, to analyze Medicare claims and clinical records of those 27 surgeries to build an overall ranking based off the number of patients who died or had longer-than-expected hospital stays due to post-surgery complications.

The consultants also gave hospitals individual ratings for five of the 27 procedures it analyzed in the report, including back surgery and hip and knee replacement surgeries, as well as procedures to remove blockages in the arteries of the heart — angioplasty, and the neck — carotid artery surgery.

Out of 40 Colorado hospitals featured in the study, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center ranked last, according to Consumer Reports.

Paul Chodkowski, president and CEO of St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, said Tuesday he was disappointed in the report for a host of reasons.

Of the 27 surgeries analyzed for the article, only two — back and knee surgeries — are performed at St. Anthony’s, he said.

In addition, Chodkowski said the report is based on such narrow criteria, Medicare claims and length of hospital stays, that it does not accurately reflect the health of patients when they are discharged from Summit Medical.

For example, between 2009 and 2011, the years analyzed by Consumer Reports, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center performed 150 knee and back surgeries on Medicare patients. Of those 150 patients, 14 were identified as having longer than anticipated hospital stays following their procedure. There were no mortalities among any of the patients, Chodkowski said.

“There is no evidence in the article to suggest that longer hospital stays were caused by adverse outcomes because there were not any adverse outcomes in our patients,” Chodkowski said.

Of the 14 cases identified by St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, patients were kept at the hospital longer than expected for a variety of reasons, Chodkowski said. Those reasons include, patients waiting for an available bed and a transfer to a skilled nursing facility, a need for additional post-surgery physical therapy or simply keeping a patient an extra day or two to monitor pain.

“We identified some patients (out of the 14 cases where patients stayed longer than expected) who were kept a day or two to manage their (post-surgery) pain, which isn’t unusual,” Chodkowski said. “We are very disappointed Consumer Reports did not call us and did not review cases in a more clinical fashion before determining the quality of our care.”

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.