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Resource ID: #27130
Subject: Doctors
Source: ProPublica
Affiliation: 
Date: July 13, July 14, July 17, July 28

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Description

ProPublica analyzed Medicare claims data, and published, for the first time, the risk-adjusted complication rates for almost 17,000 surgeons who perform certain elective operations. These operations are: hip and knee replacements, spinal fusions, gallbladder removals, and prostate removals or prostate resections. Until now, there was no national public database that named surgeons who had the lowest and highest complication rates. ProPublica found that patients are at risk of medical mishaps even when undergoing these relatively low-risk procedures. We identified more than 65,000 cases where patients were harmed or died. Surgeon Scorecard allows patients to make better-informed decisions about where to go for care. It also provides surgeons and hospitals with a benchmark for how their performance compares to their peers nationally -- which is important because the medical industry does so little now to track complications. One of our most important findings was about the distribution of these mistakes. Many surgeons had complication rates 2 or 3 times the national average. But these surgeons weren't exclusively operating at sub-par hospitals. Instead they could be found at prestigious institutions, sometimes in positions of leadership. Even more striking was the variation between high and low complication rate surgeons performing the same procedure at the same hospital.

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