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Saint Michael’s Medical Center honored for commitment to equity and value

  • Category: News
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  • Written By: Kevin A. Canessa Jr./The Observer
Saint Michael’s Medical Center honored for commitment to equity and value

Read this article as it originally appeared on The Kearny Observer.

One area hospital just over the Passaic River gets diversity, equitable care and responsibility to the communities it serves, so says the 2021 Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibilities.

Coming in as the second-ranked hospital on the list is Saint Michael’s Medical Center, Newark, topped only by Carepoint’s Jersey City Medical Center, Jersey City. The rest of the Top 10 hospitals are out of the area.

Health equity has become a top priority for American hospitals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and movements for racial justice. Yet relatively few hospitals earn top scores across the Lown Index, the only ranking to include equity as a major category.

Many well-known hospitals struggled to achieve top grades on the index due to weak equity scores.

Out of more than 3,000 hospitals, only 75 achieved Honor Roll status by earning an “A” in equity, value and outcomes, the three metrics used to determine overall social responsibility.

Major teaching hospitals and hospitals in urban areas stand out on this list. One third of all hospitals on the Honor Roll are in either California or Ohio. Hospitals in New Jersey, Maryland and Tennessee are also well-represented. Though for-profit hospitals generally perform worse than average on the index, the top two hospitals are both for-profit.

“It’s not enough for hospitals to say they’re committed to social responsibility. They need to put their commitment into action,” Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, said. “Doing well on the Lown Index is one way they can demonstrate progress.”

As a group, half of the US News hospitals failed to place within the top third.

While these hospitals generally achieved high grades on outcomes and value, every hospital besides Johns Hopkins University Hospital received a “C” or “D” grade on equity.

The Lown Institute, a health care think tank, is the first agency to publish a national ranking of hospital social responsibility. Now in its second year, the index includes 54 metrics across the equity, value and outcomes categories. The primary data source is Medicare fee-for-service claims from 2016-2018.

Among factors in the ranking this year is a new measure of cost efficiency that evaluates how well hospitals achieve low mortality rates at a low cost. Performance varies widely, even among similar-sized hospitals in the same cities.