Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rancor over Ratings

   For three months, area media were inundated with ads proclaiming that the University of Utah Medical Center had been named best academic medical center in the nation by the University HealthSystem Consortium. The rousing news that the U. had “catapulted” over 49 previously higher-ranked institutions and was now superior “even to the prestigious Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Medical Center” was puzzling, to say the least, although both Salt Lake newspapers reported this very questionable news unquestioningly.
   One clue that should have aroused a bit of investigative fervor (does that exist anymore?) is the fact that the U. med center
is not included AT ALL in any of the several established rankings of best hospitals -- it's not even in the top 100. So how did it capture the Consortium's heart?
   And what is the Consortium, anyway? From whence did this rather ominously named beast emerge? It is a tale involving "complex algorithms," lots of tentacles, "suites" for the suite, billions of dollars, federal investigations, “The Threat of Incrementalism,” and a telling code of silence. Just click on the Consortium tab above and prepare to be flabbergasted.