Hospitals with 10 Lowest Death Scores in U.S.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles earned the lowest (best) Hospital Death Score of nearly 4,000 U.S. hospitals.  Coming in second is Houston Methodist Hospital (Houston, TX) followed by Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL).  Rounding out the top ten were Providence – Providence Park Hospital (Southfield, MI), Oroville Hospital (Oroville, CA), New York-Presbyterian Hospital (New York, NY), Hillcrest Hospital (Mayfield Heights, OH), Evanston Hospital (Evanston, IL), Sherman Oaks Hospital (Sherman Oaks, CA) and NYU Hospitals Center (New York, NY).  All hospitals were ranked using Hospital Outcomes Scores (HOS) developed by Amory Associates, a Boston area consulting firm.  The rankings above reflect Death Scores rankings for hospitals that reported sufficient data to calculate death rates for at least 6 (or all 7) causes.  It is interesting to note the lack of correlation between HOS Death and Complications Scores.  Just six of the ten hospitals cited above ranked within the top half (50%) of hospitals for HOS Complications Scores.

Why Hospital Death Scores Matter

Researchers have determined that:

  • Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States (NPR)
  • “440,000 deaths annually from preventable hospital mistakes” (com)
  • Patients 3 times as likely to die at the worst hospital than at the best (NY Times)
  • Hospital safety ratings to be an unreliable indicator of outcomes (JAMA Surgery).

Hospital Outcomes Scores (HOS) were developed to address an unmet need:

  1. Deaths are the most important outcome to avoid during a hospital stay.
  2. While all hospital outcomes matter, death rates are much higher than complications rates.
  3. Existing hospital ratings are a blend of deaths, complications, procedures and other factors and are not good predictors of death rates.
  4. HOS differentiates better among hospitals using a scale of 0% to 100% than ranking hospitals from A to F or 1 to 5.

Hospital Outcomes Scores (HOS)

The Hospital Outcomes Scoring system was developed by Amory Associates as described in more detail at and the 3-minute video below .  Hospitals are ranked on a scale of 0% (best) to 100% with a median of 50%.   Over 3,900 hospitals were ranked for deaths and 3,100 for complications using Hospital Outcomes Scores (HOS) derived from data compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for the period ending June 30, 2016.  1,586 U.S. hospitals reported sufficient data for 16 or (all) 17 outcomes.

Amory Associates is a Boston area consulting firm specializing in healthcare finance and strategy.  Inquiries should be addressed to Peter Wadsworth at