See How Your Surgeon Rates
Two nonprofits help patients select surgeons based on complication and death rates.
Two nonprofit groups have launched separate Web sites to help patients vet surgeons. Each site analyzes Medicare data to evaluate surgeons based on complication and death rates for operations ranging from gall-bladder removal to knee replacement.
Surgeon Ratings, from Consumers’ Checkbook, identifies surgeons with better-than-average outcomes for 14 types of surgery. The difference between the best- and worst-performing docs is significant. Adjusting for age, health and other factors, patients of the top 10% of heart-valve and bypass surgeons had death rates of less than 3%, for example, compared with 11% for the worst 10% of docs.
Surgeon Scorecard, from investigative news agency ProPublica, is a database of nearly 17,000 surgeons, evaluated on their results for eight common procedures. ProPublica found that 11% of docs accounted for about 25% of complications.
Critics say Medicare info is insufficient to make judgments about outcomes. But Checkbook’s Robert Krughoff says Medicare claims correlate with more extensive records.