Hospital Performance Report 2005 - News Release


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


Harrisburg, PA - September 29, 2006 - The overall patient mortality rate for conditions reported decreased significantly over a three-year period, falling from 4.6% in 2003 to 4.5% in 2005, according to the state's Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). However, readmission rates increased from 18.6% to 19.2% during this same time period.

"This a good news/bad news report given the decline in patient mortality and increase in readmissions," stated Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "Reducing infections, especially hospital-acquired infections, and other complications can contribute significantly to improving outcomes for patients and constraining health care costs."

When looking at individual treatment categories, mortality decreased significantly in ten of the 26 treatment categories for which three years of data were available. The largest decline was in Stroke - Hemorrhagic, where the mortality rate decreased from 33.5% in 2003 to 30.1% in 2005. Notably, out of the 19 categories where three years of readmission data were available, the largest increase in readmission rates also was in Stroke - Hemorrhagic, where the readmission rate increased from 16.0% in 2003 to 18.7% in 2005.

"For the categories covered in the report, there were 58,937 readmissions, resulting in almost $2.2 billion in charges and 365,000 hospital days," noted Volavka. "Complications or infections were the cause of 14,202 readmissions, which added $631 million in charges and 106,000 hospital days. This means that if readmissions for complications or infections were reduced by just 15%, then over $95 million in charges would have been saved."

Respiratory Failure without Mechanical Ventilation had the highest readmission rate for complication or infection at 12.7%; Vaginal Hysterectomy had the lowest at 1.8%. Pneumonia was the most common reason for a readmission for a complication or infection.

There was wide variation in the length of stay among hospitals. The largest variation in length of hospitalization was for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair, where the risk-adjusted length of stay ranged from 3.5 to 17.2 days.

The PHC4 Hospital Performance Report includes information about risk-adjusted mortality, readmissions, lengths of hospitalization (stay), and hospital charges for patients admitted to 178 Pennsylvania hospitals from October 1, 2004 to September 30, 2005. The new print report evaluates hospital performance across 30 common medical procedures and treatments, and for the first time, includes aggregate, statewide information about cases with hospital-acquired infections. Data for additional treatment categories is available on the PHC4 website (

For the conditions in this report, there were 5,186 cases with reported hospital-acquired infections. This number represents 27.6% of all hospital-acquired infections reported (18,811) by hospitals during the time period.

"Overall, these patients who contracted hospital-acquired infections were three times as likely to die with hospital charges almost three and a half times as much for the hospitalization," said Volavka.

The conditions with the highest rates of hospital-acquired infections were Respiratory Failure with Mechanical Ventilation (4.3%) and Colorectal Procedures (4.1%). The conditions with the lowest rates of such infections were Prostatectomy - Radical (0.2%) and Hysterectomy - Vaginal (0.2%).

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council 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 available on the Council's website at or by calling PHC4 at 717-232-6787.