Los Angeles County, CA and Cook County, IL (Chicago) have 117 CMS rated hospitals between them and over 15 million residents. Yet, there is not a single five-star hospital in either county. In this mini-series, we have examined the profile of the current 188 five-star hospitals as it marks its one-year anniversary. Last week, we looked at the characteristics of the five-star hospital and found that they are small and privately owned.  This week, we added county census data to the mix again using the Consumer Assessment (HCAHPS) Interactive

 

Of the 188 five-star hospitals, 74 are critical access hospitals, which by definition are rural hospitals. In fact, 16% of all critical access hospitals are five-star hospitals compared to just 3.7% of acute care hospitals.  The following tree map shows the breakdown of hospitals by county for every county with a population of greater than 1 million residents. The gold color indicates the absence of a single five-star hospital (blue indicates two or more). A quarter of the U.S. population is represented here and there are a total of 17 five-star hospitals.

 

I live near Cleveland, Ohio, home of Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, two world-class hospitals. Yet the areas around these two great health facilities are far from healthy. Cuyahoga County, where I live is ranked by County Health Rankings 85th out of 88 counties for physical environment and 75th for quality of life. The urban hospital may carry the complex challenges of its environment.