2022 Winning Hospitals


How many older adults were put at risk for unnecessary procedures?

VIDEO: Our May 17, 2022 launch event featured Lown overuse experts Vikas Saini, MD, president; Shannon Brownlee, MSc, special advisor to the president; and Kelsey Chalmers, PhD.

The Lown Institute is the first to measure rates of hospital overuse during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overuse, or low-value care, refers to medical services that offer little to no clinical benefit or are more likely to harm patients than help them.

Eight low-value procedures were examined, including hysterectomy for benign disease, coronary stents for stable heart disease, and spinal fusion for low-back pain. The eight procedures were chosen based on validation in previous overuse studies. (press release | methodology)

The Lown Hospitals Index for Social Responsibility is also releasing 2022 rankings of the top and bottom 50 hospitals on Avoiding Overuse. For these rankings, eight procedures and four imaging services are considered, and Medicare claims data from 2018-2020 is used.

Key Takeaways

  • From March-December 2020, hospitals delivered more than 100,000 low-value procedures to Medicare beneficiaries; that’s one every four minutes on average.
  • Of the 100,000 procedures, 45,000 were unnecessary coronary stents and 30,000 were unnecessary back surgeries.
  • From June to December 2020, with no vaccines available to vulnerable older adults, hospitals delivered low-value services to Medicare patients at rates similar to 2019.
  • All of the hospitals on the US News Honor Roll ranking had rates of coronary stent overuse higher than the national average in 2020, and four had rates at least twice that.

Media inquiries should be directed to Aaron Toleos, vice president of communications for the Lown Institute, at atoleos@lowninstitute.org.