Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis was recognized as one of the top hospitals in the nation for avoiding overuse in unnecessary and potentially harmful procedures on older patients, according to a study by the Lown Institute, a health-care think tank.

Good Samaritan ranked third out of West Coast hospitals in the analysis with only California’s Natividad Medical Center in Salinas and Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center scoring higher. Good Sam ranked 22nd nationally in the report. 

The analysis of Medicare claims data shows that thousands of vulnerable patients were admitted to U.S. hospitals during the height of the pandemic for procedures that offer little to no clinical benefit or were more likely to harm patients than help them. The analysis of eight unnecessary and potentially harmful procedures is the first to measure rates of overuse at U.S. hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The review indicated that coronary stents and back surgeries were among the most-performed unnecessary procedures over this period.

“It is imperative that hospitals do not overuse what may be considered low-value care,” Laura Hennum, chief executive officer, said in a news release. “As part of our commitment to safety, quality and social responsibility, our priority is to deliver high-value care that optimizes clinical benefit, while avoiding unnecessary procedures that may increase the potential for harm.”

Coronary stents were the most overused by volume of all the procedures. Across the country, approximately one in five met criteria for overuse, including at some of the nation’s most well-regarded hospitals. For example, among the U.S. News top 20 hospitals, all had rates of coronary stent overuse above the national average, and four had rates at least double that: Cleveland Clinic (44%), Houston Methodist Hospital (44%), Mt. Sinai (42%) and Barnes Jewish Hospital (42%).

“We’ve known for over a decade that we shouldn’t be putting so many stents into patients with stable coronary disease, but we do it anyway,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute. “As a cardiologist, it’s frustrating to see this behavior continue at such high levels, especially during the pandemic.”

For this analysis, the Lown Institute used data from the Medicare claims database to evaluate volume of overuse for eight common low-value procedures. Procedures and overuse criteria were based on previously published research into measurement of low-value care at hospitals.