SAN ANTONIO -

If you're scheduling surgery, the hospital you choose can make a big difference, according to Consumer Reports. 

The magazine analyzed three years of Medicare billing records from nearly 2,500 hospitals, including 200 in Texas. 

The analysis covered 27 kinds of common surgeries, including hip and knee replacements, back surgery and surgery to clear blocked arteries.

"We rated hospitals based on the percent of Medicare patients undergoing surgery who died or were hospitalized longer than expected, which could indicate complications," said Dr. John Santa, Consumer Reports' medical adviser.

Eighteen Texas hospitals got high ratings, including two in San Antonio: Methodist Ambulatory Surgery Hospital and South Texas Spine and Surgical Hospital.

Lower-rated local hospitals were  Baptist Medical Center and Methodist Hospital.

Methodist Health System responded with this statement:

"We encourage patients to talk with their own physician about their care plan and to study hospital information available online. Consumers can find more recent hospital quality and safety data at www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare and www.leapfroggroup.org. Both sites offer information in a variety of areas including maternity care and high-risk surgery as well as satisfaction scores from former patients.

"Please note the data analyzed by Consumer Reports is two to three years old. The data provided by Medicare and Leapfrog is more up to date. Consumer Reports included use of Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) as a factor in their ratings. Methodist began implementing CPOE a year ago; CPOE is aimed at significantly improving patient care by avoiding medical errors based on handwritten or verbal medical instructions for patient care."

Baptist Healthcare responded with this statement:

Baptist Health System fully supports transparency on all clinical data reporting.  We participate in a number of national quality reporting programs.  However, we have not had the opportunity to fully review this report and metrics and are unable to respond to these findings at this time

Consumer Reports said it hopes its ratings motivate hospitals to set high standards.

"We know the ratings aren't a perfect measurement," Santa said. "But, we think they're an important first step in giving patients the information they need to make an informed choice."

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.