Friday, October 23, 2009

Pennsylvania’s Public Reporting of Hospital Outcomes: A Potential Model for Improving Value

From Avalere's Evidence Based Medicine Update:

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted Pennsylvania’s twenty-year history of publishing hospital outcomes as a potential model for improving quality and lowering costs nationally. Since 1986, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has publicly reported death and complication rates for all Pennsylvania hospitals. The state has found that high-quality treatment usually results in reduced costs manifested in shorter hospital stays and fewer readmissions. Large Pennsylvania employers, such as Hershey Co. and the Philadelphia Police Department, have used PHC4 data to offer health insurance options that steer their employees toward only the highest performing hospitals, producing significant savings. The Senate Finance Committee’s health reform bill would allocate up to $75 million annually to develop methods to improve quality, which could include published hospital outcomes. PHC4 critics claim that the data is imprecise and not comprehensive enough to account for the sickest patients who are seen primarily in academic medical centers. However, the article quotes Jon Blum, Director of the Center for Medicare Management,stating that “there is a clear understanding in the Obama administration that both Medicare and Medicaid need to move in the direction of what’s happening in Pennsylvania.” The article can be read by clicking here.

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