PA hospitals post improved mortality rates, increased readmission rates

According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), overall patient mortality rate for conditions reported over a four-year period decreased, falling from 4.6% in 2004 to 4.2% in 2007. Readmission rates increased slightly over a three-year period from 18.6% in 2005 to 18.7% in 2007.

The PHC4 Hospital Performance Report includes information about risk-adjusted mortality, readmissions, lengths of hospitalization (stay), and hospital charges for patients admitted to 162 Pennsylvania hospitals from October 1, 2006 to September 30, 2007. The new print report evaluates hospital performance across 31 common medical procedures and treatments. Data for additional treatment categories is available on the PHC4 Web site .

"The trend in lower patient mortality rates in Pennsylvania hospitals is evidence that public reporting works," said David R. Kreider, PHC4's Chairman and Vice President for Operations and Treasurer for the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. "Underscoring PHC4's reporting is a study recently released in the American Journal of Medical Quality which shows the clear connection between Pennsylvania's public reporting and reduced patient death rates. Without reauthorization of PHC4 by the General Assembly and Governor Rendell in the next few weeks, Pennsylvanians will lose this powerful influence on health care quality and patient safety." Earlier this summer, the General Assembly did not reauthorize PHC4 before its June 30, 2008 sunset date," noted Mr. Krieder.

When looking at individual treatment categories, mortality decreased significantly in 17 of the 25 treatment categories for which four years of data were available. The largest decline was in Respiratory Failure without Mechanical Ventilation, where the mortality rate decreased from 17.0% in 2004 to 11.7% in 2007.

For the categories covered in the report, there were 57,360 readmissions for any reason in 2007, resulting in almost $2.4 billion in charges and 351,000 hospital days. Complications or infections were the cause of 15,122 of these readmissions, which accounted for $774 million in charges and 112,000 hospital days. Respiratory Failure without Mechanical Ventilation had the highest readmission rate for complication or infection at 13.9%, and Vaginal Hysterectomy had the lowest at 2.0%.

(SOURCE: Pennsylvanie Health Care Cost Containment Council , http://phc4.org , web site review October 5, 2008)