Pennsylvania nonprofit finds mortality declines, but readmissions increased

The overall patient mortality rate for the 20 conditions consistently reported in 2002 through 2008 decreased significantly, falling from 5.1% in 2002 to 4.2% in 2008, according to the state's annual Hospital Performance Report released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

According to the press release, the overall readmission rate for the 15 conditions consistently reported during this time period increased significantly from 18.3% in 2002 to 19.1% in 2008. Yet, the overall readmission rate has plateaued in recent years as the 2008 rate of 19.1% is not significantly different from the 2004 rate of 19.0%.

For the 21 categories covered in the report, there were 57,852 readmissions for any reason in 2008, resulting in over $2.5 billion in charges and 350,000 hospital days. Complications or infections were the cause of 22,094 of these readmissions, which accounted for almost $1.1 billion in charges and 157,000 hospital days. Readmissions for complication or infection comprise 38.2% of all readmissions.

The PHC4 Hospital Performance Report includes information about risk-adjusted mortality, readmissions, lengths of hospitalization (stay), and hospital charges for patients admitted to 158 Pennsylvania hospitals from October 1, 2007 to September 30, 2008. The new report evaluates hospital performance across 31 common medical procedures and treatments. Data for additional treatment categories is available on the PHC4 Web site.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, September 28, 2009; Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council,, accessed September 29, 2009)