Affordable Care Act

Medicare Releases List of Best and Worst Hospitals For Hip And Knee Surgery

For the first time, Medicare is ranking how well hospitals perform hip and knee replacement surgeries.

The Affordable Care Act lays out financial incentives for doctors and hospitals to provide better care, and the newly released “best and worst” list is part of that larger effort.

Kaiser Health News explains how the list was compiled:

It evaluated how often a hospital’s patients ended up being readmitted within 30 days of discharge. It also looked at how often patients suffered a serious complication after the operation, such as a blood clot, infection, problem with the artificial joint or death.

While Medicare rated most hospitals as average, it identified 95 hospitals with rates that were higher than the national average in one of the two categories, and 97 hospitals with rates that were lower than average. Those outlier hospitals are listed in the sortable table below. A dash (—) indicates the hospital had average performance for that indicator.

Close to a million people get hip or knee replacements each year. Here’s how hospitals in Texas fared:


Baptist St Anthony’s Hospital Amarillo TX Worse
Christus Santa Rosa Hospital San Antonio TX Better
Christus St Michael Health System Texarkana TX Worse
Covenant Medical Center Lubbock TX Better
Doctors Hospital At Renaissance Edinburg TX Better
Grace Medical Center Lubbock TX Better
Houston Orthopedic And Spine Hospital Bellaire TX Worse
Peterson Regional Medical Center Kerrville TX Worse Worse
Plaza Medical Center Of Fort Worth Fort Worth TX Better
Quail Creek Surgical Hospital Amarillo TX Better
Seton Medical Center Austin Austin TX Better
Shannon Medical Center San Angelo TX Worse Worse
St Joseph Regional Health Center Bryan TX Worse
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas Dallas TX Better
Vhs Harlingen Hospital Company Llc Harlingen TX Better Better
Woodland Heights Medical Center Lufkin TX Worse

Click here for the full list.

It seems hospitals, upon close inspection, don’t always live up to their reputations.

Capital Tonight: Abbott campaign pivots toward education issues

The race for the state’s top spot is now focusing in on education. Attorney General Greg Abbott kicked off a series of classroom roundtables this week, marking the first time the Republican frontrunner in the race for governor has zeroed in on the topic. It’s an issue Senator Wendy Davis — the lead Democrat in the race — has been campaigning on since the beginning.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at where the candidates stand on the issue, and what they’ve said in the past.


The White House is reporting over a million people visited the website Monday, on the first full business day after a series of repairs. Government officials now say the federal online health insurance exchange is now functioning 90 percent of the time.

We spoke with Mimi Garcia of Enroll America about their efforts to get the word out about health insurance options through the Affordable Care Act in states like Texas, where the federally created website is the only one available.


Plus, our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, joined us to look at what’s next for the Affordable Care Act and how Republicans and Democrats will position themselves around the law.

Capital Tonight: Checking up on the federal enrollment website

White House officials are touting fixes to the online health insurance exchange nearly two months after a botched rollout on October 1. The Obama administration says 175,000 people logged onto before noon Monday, the first full business day since a self-imposed deadline to fix a host of problems.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at whether the changes are noticeable in Texas, where a number of groups are working to get people enrolled and get the word out.


The campaign filing deadline is one week away, and it could mean some last-minute scrambling for a few candidates. The Quorum Report‘s Harvey Kronberg joined us to explain why.


Plus, we sat down with Republican gubernatorial candidate Miriam Martinez. Click the image below to hear about Martinez’s unique background and her thoughts on immigration reform, the Republican party and more.

Capital Tonight: Challenges continue for health care law

The U.S. Supreme Court is stepping in to referee another dispute over the Affordable Care Act. This time, they’ll be hearing arguments over the part of the law that requires most employers to provide contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans for employees.

In Tuesday’s Capital Tonight, we spoke to advocates for both sides of the issue, who say the outcome will go far beyond any one company.


Libertarian candidate for governor, Kathie Glass, joined us to share her political vision beyond the two-party system, including why property taxes should be one of the first things on the chopping block.


When Congress returns to Washington after the Thanksgiving break, budget negotiators will have to scramble to strike a deal to avoid yet another round of steep, automatic spending cuts.

Capital Tonight: Anemic enrollment numbers especially obvious in Texas

Federal officials have released Affordable Care Act enrollment figures, and they fall far below the Obama administration’s projections. The Department of Health and Human Services announced just over 106,000 have signed up nationwide. Of those, fewer than 3,000 came from Texas.
In Wednesday’s Capital Tonight, we looked at how local organizations are coping with the process, glitches and all. Plus, we spoke to Chuck DeVore of the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation about whether the website is indicative of bigger problems to come.


The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas case yet again, following a U.S, Supreme Court decision to remand the case. Fisher, a white Texan, sued the University of Texas at Austin when she was denied admission back in 2008. But even after the lengthy legal process, UT Austin President Bill Powers says he’s cautiously optimistic.


And in Washington, House Speaker John Boehner is putting the final nail in the coffin of immigration reform — at least until the new year. The Senate already passed a comprehensive bill that includes tighter border security and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented residents, but Boehner is making it clear that any hope that the Republican-led House might do the same is dead.

Fewer than 3,000 Texans enroll through health care exchange

After downplaying expectations for weeks, federal officials say fewer than 3,000 Texans were able to sign up for coverage in the health insurance marketplace in October. Nationwide, the total comes to just over 100,000 people.

The Department of Health and Human Services released the totals Wednesday afternoon, following a rocky start to the enrollment website. Since its launch on October 1, the site has seen widespread technical issues. Federal officials have testified about the problems and say they’re working to fix them.

Enrollment through state-run websites — implemented by 14 states and Washington, D.C. — makes up three quarters of the total number. Texas is one of 36 states that opted not to create its own exchange website, meaning residents have to go through the federal marketplace.


Perry blasts Obama over call for Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Perry had some harsh words for President Barack Obama Wednesday. Obama traveled to Dallas to promote his landmark health care law and to urge the state to consider expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

According to Obama, doing so would potentially cover more than a million Texans who are currently uninsured.

“One of the things that gets me a little frustrated,” Obama said, “are folks who are complaining about how the website’s not working, and why isn’t Obama fixing it. And yet they’re leaving more than a million people right now without health insurance that they could immediately fix.”

Gov. Perry has maintained that Texas will not expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Instead, he requested a federal block grant that would allow Texas to make changes to the program without having to follow federal guidelines. Gov. Perry did not mince words in his response to the President’s request, saying:

“President Obama deceived the American people by promising that anyone who liked their health care plan could keep it, but millions of Americans are now discovering that simply isn’t true. Now, he’s coming to Texas in a desperate attempt to salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate by preaching expansion of the same Medicaid system he himself admits is broken. In Texas, where Medicaid already consumes a quarter of the state budget, we simply need the flexibility to implement fundamental, state-specific reforms to our Medicaid program, instead of a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate, before it bankrupts our state. Mr. President, Texans aren’t the reason Obamacare is crumbling; Obamacare is the reason Obamacare is crumbling.”

Texas is one of 21 states that declined to expand Medicaid as part of Obamacare. There were several bipartisan attempts last legislative session to come up with a Texas-specific version of expansion. None of those bills gained enough support to move forward.

Abbott responds to Obama visit in new web ad

Attorney General Greg Abbott released a new online ad Wednesday to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Dallas. In his ad, Abbott criticizes the administration over the troubled roll out of the Affordable Care Act and highlights Obama’s losses in the Lone Star State.

In a statement to accompany the ad, Abbott said, “Texans don’t need a half-billion-dollar website to find out that they don’t support ObamaCare, and we are not going to let this abusive, overreaching program sink its teeth too deeply into Texas.”

Texas has the highest rate of uninsured citizens in the country. Obama spoke in Dallas to promote the positive points of the Affordable Care Act and to urge Gov. Rick Perry to expand Medicaid.

Capital Tonight: Questions emerge over voter affidavits

Gregory Wayne Abbott will have to sign one when he shows up to the polls, and Wendy Russell Davis has already had to do so. In Thursday’s Capital Tonight, we examine the argument over affidavits — the sworn statements voters must sign when their photo IDs differ from their voter registration cards.


The state’s cancer research funding agency is back up and running, after state leaders lifted a moratorium on the grant process. But after a high-profile scandal over misuse of the approval process, can the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas successfully rehabilitate its image? Our Capital Commentators, Harold Cook and Ted Delisi, joined us to weigh in on that topic and more.


Regardless of your thoughts on the Affordable Care Act, there’s no doubt that premiums will rise for some in Texas. We spoke with John Davidson with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation about why he believes young, adult males will be hit the hardest.

Capital Tonight: Voter ID, abortion laws face new tests

One of the most controversial laws passed this legislative session saw its first day in court Monday. Women’s groups are challenging House Bill 2, which enacts some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

In Monday’s Capital Tonight, we heard from the plaintiffs about why they believe the law should be put on hold, and why state attorneys say their case is strong. Plus, we spoke to county election officials about how the newly implemented voter ID law will work at ground level.


We’ve talked a lot about the water initiative known as Proposition 6 leading up to the Nov. 5 election, but there are other measures to consider, including one constitutional amendment that could drastically change the process of home ownership among our aging population. We sat down with Scott Norman of Texans for Proposition 5 about why he supports the measure.


The government shutdown is over, but another federal hangup continues. The website where people can shop for health insurance is still seeing heavy delays, a problem for which President Barack Obama says there’s no excuse. We heard from the president about what’s being done to fix it, and got an update from local enrollment organizers about how the effort is going closer to home.