Patient Care

Consumers Union Joins Hospital Safety Ratings Game


A new hospital patient-safety ranking system was released in July by Consumers Union (CU), an independent consumer advocacy organization in Yonkers, N.Y., and published in the August issue of its magazine Consumer Reports.1 CU rated 1,155 hospitals in six categories, including hospital-acquired infections, readmissions, and the quality of communication by physicians and nurses to patients. The highest-scoring hospital: Billings Clinic in Montana, which received a 72 on CU’s 100-point safety score.

“The new Consumer Reports hospital safety ratings add to a growing list of publicly reported performance rating schemes,” says SHM president Shaun Frost, MD, SFHM, FACP, associate medical director for care-delivery systems at HealthPartners in Minneapolis. Hospitalists should be aware of these ratings and review them “with an eye toward identifying improvement opportunities that are within their scope of influence....Hospitalists must embrace these issues as theirs to own and improve upon, as the ability to demonstrably improve the safety and care quality in the hospitals in which we practice is dependent on us.”


  1. Consumer Reports. How safe is your hospital? Our new ratings find that some are riskier than others. Consumer Reports website. Available at: Accessed July 31, 2012.

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