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Utah Facilities Perform Well in Gallbladder and Stroke Care

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Mike Martin sends this update on two new reports from Utah:

Quality similar to national averages but costs vary widely

One of the most important decisions Utahns can make is choosing a health care facility that will provide the best care for themselves and family members. To help Utahns be better informed of their choices when seeking medical care, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Health Data Committee (HDC) has released two new comparison reports on stroke care and gallbladder removal.

“Patients who shop for the right care at the right price may inspire efficiency among providers, which could ultimately lead to lower health care costs,” said Dr. Keely Cofrin Allen, HDC Executive Secretary and Director of the Office of Health Care Statistics.

Among some of the key findings from each report:

§ Data show that nearly 180 Utahns are hospitalized for stroke every month. Stroke is a dangerous condition that, without proper and timely care, can lead to mental impairment and paralysis. Nearly 700 stroke patients died in Utah hospitals from 2004-2006. Most hospitals (22 out of
23) that treated 30 or more stroke patients had the same percentage of stroke deaths as expected nationally. One hospital had fewer deaths than expected when compared to national counterparts. [IQI 17]

§ In 2006, Utah health care facilities performed more than 670 gallbladder removals every month. Nearly 95% of the surgeries were performed laparoscopically, using several very small incisions instead of the single larger, more invasive incision that is used during an “open” procedure.

§ Utah had a higher rate (84%) of lap inpatients than similar patients in the U.S. (76%). Seventeen (17) of the 22 Utah hospitals studied in this report had a higher percentage of inpatient lap gallbladder removals when compared to national counterparts. The five (5)hospitals with a lower inpatient percentage versus the nation tend to treat patients with more complex gallbladder problems and medical history. [IQI 23]

§ As expected, average hospital charges for report measures (both reports) differed widely among health care facilities in 2006.

In future reports, Utah anticipates reporting critical information such as complication rates using data from its all-payer database. All-payer data will also allow for more accurate comparisons across health care facilities than is currently available.

To see a full copy of the reports, visit

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