Hospital Performance Report 2003 - News Release


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


Harrisburg, PA - September 29, 2004 - Patient mortality rates for all conditions reported consistently over the last two years in the state's Hospital Performance Report showed a significant decline, dropping from 4.3% in 2002 to 4.1% in 2003, according to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).  PHC4's latest Hospital Performance Report also noted that readmission rates rose from 18.1% in 2002 to 18.4% in 2003.

"Public reporting stimulates better results in health care, and highlights opportunities for improvement," stated Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "Both sides of the equation can be seen in these latest numbers, with mortality rates down, but readmissions on the rise."

When looking at individual treatment categories, mortality decreased significantly in seven of the 26 areas for which two years of mortality data were available. The largest decline was in Heart Attack Medical Management, where the mortality rate decreased from 14.4% in 2002 to 13.5% in 2003.

"For the 19 treatment categories where readmissions were reported, there were 54,610 readmissions in 2003, resulting in $1.7 billion in charges," commented Mr. Volavka.  "Complications or infection were the cause of 12,917 readmissions, adding 98,000 hospital days and $530 million in charges."

The PHC4 Hospital Performance Report includes risk-adjusted mortality rates, lengths of hospitalization (stay), and hospital charges for patients admitted to 167 Pennsylvania hospitals from October 1, 2002 through September 30, 2003.  The report also includes readmission ratings for 19 of the 29 categories in the report.

Stroke (Hemorrhagic) had the highest readmission rate for complication or infection at 7.5%, while Vaginal Hysterectomy had the lowest rate at 1.8%.  The readmission rate for any reason increased significantly for Non-hemorrhagic Stroke (13.9% in 2002 to 14.8% in 2003) and Congestive Heart Failure (25.5% in 2002 to 26.0% in 2003).

Between 2002 and 2003, there were significant drops in length of stay for seven of the 26 groups where two years of data were available, and significant increases in three procedure or treatment groups. The largest variation in length of hospitalization was noted in Diabetes with Amputation, where the risk-adjusted length of stay ranged from 4.2 to 16.8 days.

Data for a total of 49 treatment categories is posted on the PHC4 website ( The number of reported categories dropped from 71 to 49 due to restrictions embedded in PHC4's reauthorizing statute, passed in July 2003.

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 improve the quality and restrain the cost of health care in Pennsylvania. Copies of the Hospital Performance Report, as well as hospital comments, are free and are available on the Council's website at or by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787.