A new ranking system has found that some hospitals rated “best” by the U.S. News and World Report are failing in other important ways, including how well a hospital provides access to care for people with low incomes and people of color. The new ranking system uses 42 markers to evaluate care at nearly 3,300 hospitals. This is the first hospital ranking system to measure the degree to which a hospital cares for underserved people. Researchers found that the relationship between hospitals’ inclusivity and death rates are inversely related. In other words, the more hospital diversity, the lower the hospital’s overall death rate. Researchers also found that “safety net hospitals,” which serve many people with low incomes, may not be as bad as the older rankings indicate since those rankings did not take into account important social and economic factors, such as patients’ access to housing and healthy food that impact patient health and illness. People’s lives depend on the quality of care at hospitals, so it is important that we have a good system in place to measure that care.
Photo by Rawpixel