CMS releases new data on hospital mortality

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), today announced important additions to the Hospital Compare consumer web site that will give consumers even better insight into the quality of care provided by their local hospitals.

The improvements include the addition of a mortality measure for pneumonia and, for the first time on Hospital Compare, publicly reported measures for hospital care of children. Previously, Hospital Compare had provided only quality information based on hospitalizations of adult patients.

Earlier this year, Medicare added patient satisfaction information to the Web site. Today’s additions bring the total to 26 process of care measures, three outcome of care measures, two children’s asthma care measures, and 10 patient experience of care measures. Hospital Compare also contains information about the number of certain elective hospital procedures provided to patients and what Medicare pays for those services.

Last year, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a broad comparison of death rates for heart attacks and heart failure, noting how hospitals compared with the national average — better, worse or no different — without releasing the death rates themselves. This year the agency decided to disclose them to consumers. The CMS formula for calculating mortality captures all deaths among 35 million Medicare beneficiaries that occurred within 30 days of hospital admission and factors in the hospital’s patient mix and how many deaths would be expected according to that patient population.

Click here for a link to the CMS Press Release, and click here for a link to Hospital Compare. (SOURCE: Advisory Board Daily Briefing , www.advisory.com, August 20, 2008; USA Today, http://usatoday.com, August 20, 2008)