New Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council Report: PA hospital readmission rates continue to drop

Harrisburg, PA – December 17, 2014 – In-hospital mortality rates decreased significantly statewide between 2008 and 2013 for eight of the 16 illnesses for which mortality was reported in the 2013 Hospital Performance Report (HPR), released today by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4). The sharpest decrease was in Septicemia, where the mortality rate decreased from 18.8% to 12.2%.

None of the conditions and medical procedures studied by PHC4 showed a significant increase in mortality between 2008 and 2013.

The new PHC4 report also indicates statewide patient readmission rates showed a significant decrease in eight of the 13 conditions for which readmissions were reported between 2008 and 2013. The largest significant decrease was in Congestive Heart Failure, where the readmission rate decreased from 27.2% to 23.5%.

“Reduced rates of readmission can point to an improved quality of care and suggest hospitals in the commonwealth are working to help lower overall health care costs,” said Joe Martin, executive director of PHC4.

The 2013 HPR evaluates hospitals in the commonwealth on 17 medical conditions and surgical procedures. The report contains hospital-specific information about volume of cases, mortality, readmissions and charges for patients admitted to all general acute care and most specialty general acute care hospitals in Pennsylvania.

In addition to Septicemia, other conditions showing significant mortality declines between 2008 and 2013 were:

  • Pneumonia – Aspiration: 10% to 7%
  • Heart Attack – Medical Management: 10.2% to 8.1%
  • Kidney Failure – Acute: 5.1% to 3.4%
  • Stroke: 5.1% to 3.7%
  • Colorectal Procedures: 3% to 2%
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): 1% to 0.6%
  • Kidney and Urinary Tract Infections: 0.8% to 0.5%

“The decrease in mortality rates in 2013 correlates to the quality of care hospitals, physicians and nurses in the commonwealth provide,” said Martin.

In addition to Congestive Heart Failure, other readmission rates showing declines between 2008 and 2013 were:

  • Pneumonia – Aspiration: 25% to 21.5%
  • Kidney Failure – Acute: 24% to 21.4%
  • COPD: 22.8% to 20.8%
  • Kidney and Urinary Tract Infections: 17.6% to 15.9%
  • Pneumonia – Infectious: 17% to 16.1%
  • Stroke: 14.7% to 13.9%
  • Abnormal Heartbeat: 15% to 14.5%

Only one condition studied showed a significant increase in readmissions between 2008 and 2013—Chest Pain increased significantly from 11.6% to 13.5%.

Septicemia also had the largest percentage increase in volume of hospital admissions, rising 74.5%, from 26,832 discharges in 2008 to 46,813 discharges in 2013, according to the HPR.

Nationally, there are about 750,000 cases annually of Septicemia, a serious and life-threatening infection in the blood stream sometimes referred to as blood poisoning, affecting between 1% and 2% of all hospitalizations, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Among the HPR’s other statewide findings:

  • Medicare fee-for-service was the primary payer for 39.7% of the statewide admissions in 2012 for the 17 conditions and procedures studied, totaling more than $1.01 billion.
  • Medicaid fee-for-service was the primary payer for 3.0% of the statewide admissions in 2012 for the 17 conditions and procedures studied, totaling more than $97 million.
  • Medicaid managed care was the primary payer for 4.8% of the statewide admissions in 2012 for the 17 conditions and procedures studied, totaling nearly $133 million.

PHC4 publishes the Hospital Performance Report in three regional editions—Southeastern Pennsylvania, Western Pennsylvania and Central/Northeastern Pennsylvania. Copies of all three are free and available from PHC4’s website at http://www.phc4.org.

PHC4 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.

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