Medical safety
7:04 pm
Tue March 8, 2011

Rating hospitals based on number of errors

Thousands of people are still dying unnecessarily in America's hospitals, according to a new set of quality ratings.  That’s despite a decade of attention to preventing errors. 

More than 20,000 hospital deaths should have been prevented, just among Medicare patients (people over the age of 65), according to a report from Health Grades Inc. of Denver.

Hospitals in Washington as a group are about average in terms of their error rates.

Common mistakes include infections, blood clots following surgery, and pressure sores. 

Error-rates are one factor to consider before choosing a hospital.

"It is important to evaluate hospitals based on objective data, versus just a reputation," says Kristin Reed of Health Grades. 

Six hospitals around the Puget Sound area did score in the top five percent.

  • Northwest Hospital & Medical Center Seattle
  • Overlake Hospital Medical Center Bellevue
  • PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Bellingham
  • Providence Regional Medical Center Everett Everett
  • Providence Saint Peter Hospital Olympia
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center Seattle 

Two local hospitals were on this list last year, but dropped off: Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup and Tacoma General Allenmore Hospital. The definitions and categories used in the ratings changed from last year.

Every year, Health Grades rates most of the nation’s hospitals, based on errors reported to the federal Medicare system.

Two other popular ratings websites are available from: