The kindest cut of all

Here goes nothing

Here goes nothing

Nevada County residents who require surgery have a better than average chance of a successful outcome, according to a new national survey from Consumer Reports.

But there are some caveats. You’re better off around Grass Valley/Nevada City and Auburn than you are around Truckee, especially if you’re not transferred to our regional trauma center. And if you’re willing to travel a little bit to the north, you can be treated at one of CR’s top-10 hospitals nationally.

Surgery itself is scary enough, but there’s a 30 percent chance you’ll suffer an infection, heart attack, stroke or other complication AFTER you leave the operating room.

It’s virtually impossible for the public to find out what hospitals do the best job, so Consumer Reports decided to make public a measure some hospitals now use to track quality–the percentage of Medicare patients undergoing surgery who die in the hospital or stay longer than expected.

CR teamed up with medical consulting firm MPA to analyze billing claims submitted to Medicare from 2009-11 by 2,463 hospitals in the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Here’s what they found:

–Teaching hospitals, generally thought to be among the best, often fell short in the survey. U.C. Davis Medical Center in Sacramento was rated as average, and just two U.C. hospitals got the highest rating.

–Rural hospitals did better, on average, than other hospitals. Sierra Nevada Memorial in Grass Valley and Sutter Auburn Faith rated higher than average for surgical outcomes, while Enloe Medical Center in Chico was rated among the top 10 in the country. Tahoe Forest Hospital in Truckee is considered average.

–Big-name hospitals don’t always live up to their reputations when it comes to surgery. Along with U.C. Davis, Sutter Roseville is rated average.

–Specialty hospitals tend to do better. Sierra Surgery Center in Carson City received CR’s top rating, something for east county residents to consider.

More detailed information is available at ConsumerReports.org/hospital ratings.

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