Three metro hospitals on Medicare list of worst for hip and knee replacements

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time, Medicare is rating hospitals on hip and knee replacement surgeries. Medicare puts three metro hospitals among the 95 nationwide where patients are more likely to have problems.

The University of Kansas Hospital, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and North Kansas City Hospital are in the highest category for complications from hip and knee surgery. Complications include pneumonia, bleeding, blood clots and death within a month after surgery. Medicare looked at data from 2009 to 2012.

Dr. Lee Norman, K.U. Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, says some initiatives to improve outcomes have started there since then. He also says the hospital’s hip and knee patients tend to be in poorer health to begin with.

“Ninety percent of the patients that had complications fell in what’s called the extreme complication risk group. We’re an academic medical center. We get the toughest patients a lot of places don’t want to work on,” said Dr. Norman.

North Kansas City Hospital responded to its rating by saying that it continually strives for improvement, and that one measurement does not accurately reflect total quality of care. Overland Park Regional says it’s committed to quality care, and it’s proud of new protocols and processes in the past 18 months that are moving the hospital in the right direction.

Medicare also looked at readmissions to the hospital, and K.U., O.P. Regional and North Kansas City were in the “average” category for those.

Medicare named 97 hospitals nationwide where patients tend to have better recoveries from hip and knee replacement surgeries. Olathe Medical Center is in that group because it had fewer complications. Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph had fewer complications and readmissions.

The ratings are part of the government’s effort to improve the care your tax dollars are paying for.

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