Hospital Performance Report 2004 - News Release


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


Harrisburg, PA - September 29, 2005 - The overall patient mortality rate for conditions reported decreased significantly over a three year period, dropping from 4.5% in 2002 to 4.2% in 2004, according to the state’s Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). However, readmission rates increased significantly from 18.1% to 18.8% during this same time period.

"This year’s report once again highlights areas where Pennsylvania hospitals continue to improve, as well as opportunities for enhancing quality of care," stated Marc P. Volavka, Executive Director of PHC4. "Even though the good news is that patient mortality continues to decline, the sharp rise in readmissions means providers must redouble their focus on patient safety, especially complications and infections."

When looking at individual treatment categories, mortality decreased significantly in nine of the 24 treatment categories for which three years of data were available. The largest decline was in Aspiration Pneumonia, where the mortality rate decreased from 15.5% in 2002 to 12.9% in 2004.

"For the categories covered in the report, there were 57,822 readmissions, resulting in almost $1.9 billion in charges and 357,000 hospital days," noted Volavka. "Complications or infection were the cause of 14,075 readmissions, which added $601 million in charges and 107,000 hospital days. This means that if readmissions for complications or infections were reduced by just 15%, then over $90 million in charges would have been saved."

The PHC4 Hospital Performance Report includes risk-adjusted mortality rates, lengths of hospitalization (stay), and hospital charges for patients admitted to 180 Pennsylvania hospitals from October 1, 2003 to September 30, 2004. The new hard copy report evaluates hospital performance across 30 common medical procedures and treatments, and includes a new category – Removal of Blockage of Neck Vessels (Carotid Endarterectomy). Data for 19 additional treatment categories is available on the PHC4 website (

Respiratory Failure with Mechanical Ventilation had the highest readmission rate for complication or infection at 12.3%, while Vaginal Hysterectomy had the lowest at 2.0%. The readmission rate for any reason increased significantly for Non-hemorrhagic Stroke (13.9% in 2002 to 15.1% in 2004), Laparoscopic Gallbladder Removal (6.6% in 2002 to 7.5% in 2004), Kidney and Urinary Tract Infections (16.7% in 2002 to 18.2% in 2004) and Congestive Heart Failure (25.5% in 2002 to 26.9% in 2004).

There was wide variation in the length of stay among hospitals in 2004. The largest variation in length of hospitalization was for Diabetes with Amputation, where the risk-adjusted length of stay ranged from 5.4 to 23.7 days.

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.