Hospital Performance Report 2001 - News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Joe Martin, Communications Director
717-232-6787 or

MORTALITY RATES DROP IN PENNSYLVANIA HOSPITALS

Harrisburg, PA - December 19, 2002 - In-hospital patient mortality rates for 10 key procedure and treatment groups dropped between the years 1999 and 2001, according to a new report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). At the same time, the amount of time patients spent in the hospital (length of stay) dropped in 9 categories within the same time period.

"Hospitals and physicians continue to improve the quality of care they provide, and the patients are the winners," stated Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "The process of public reporting is making a difference in Pennsylvania."

New to this year's report are two additional outcome measures - length of stay outlier rates, which provide a picture of abnormally short or long lengths of stay, as well as the percent of cases readmitted for complications and infections. Other measures included in the report are: volume of cases, risk-adjusted mortality, risk-adjusted average length of stay, risk-adjusted readmissions for any reason, and average charges.

"We're proud to be breaking new ground in reporting quality-related health care measures," said Mr. Volavka. "Both readmissions due to complications or infection and excessive lengths of hospitalization pinpoint areas for quality improvement and cost containment."

Divided into three regional versions - Southeastern, Central & Northeastern, and Western Pennsylvania, PHC4's Hospital Performance Report examines 28 medical and surgical categories - 12 Diagnosis Related Groups (DRGs) as well as 16 new conditions based on ICD-9-CM codes (International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification). Although previous Hospital Performance Reports focused solely on DRGs, in an effort to more precisely define clinical conditions, this year's report uses ICD-9-CM codes much more extensively, which specify the clinical reason(s) for a patient's hospitalization

In addition to the hard-copy version of the report, 50 additional DRGs are also included on PHC4's website at http://www.phc4.org and are contained in an interactive, user-friendly database, which allows users to customize the data. All of the treatment and surgical categories in the report and on the website were chosen due to a combination of factors, including significant variation in mortality, high volume, resource consumption, and diversity across diagnoses and procedures.

"While the overall quality of hospital care remains high, there is significant variation in the individual hospital results, especially with regard to readmissions and lengths of stay," noted Mr. Volavka. "These differences provide targeted opportunities for quality improvement, more efficient use of resources, and cost containment."

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) is an independent state agency charged with collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be used to make more informed decisions, thereby improving the quality and restraining the cost of health care in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania hospitals are required by law to provide this information to PHC4, but hospitals may elect to comment on their data before publication of the report. Copies of the report as well as hospital comments are free and are available on the Council's website at http://www.phc4.org or by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787.