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Calif. Hospital Report Cards may not continue

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Cal Hospital Compare project, started in 2004, was a way for consumers to get information on the quality of care delivered by hospitals.  However, Kaiser Health News writes that the California Hospital Association see public reporting as having very much come of age at this point in time. As a result, the California Hospital Association recently sent a letter to the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce, which oversees the scorecards, announcing its intention to withdraw from the project, as hospitals have become overwhelmed by the administrative burden of reporting data to multiple agencies.

Patient safety advocates insist the only way hospitals will become safer is through unflinching transparency. Indeed, Cal Hospital Compare publishes a hospital’s ICU mortality rate, measure of how frequently people die in a hospital’s intensive care unit. The measure is adjusted for the mix of patients.

The board of directors of the task force which includes consumer advocates, health insurance companies, hospitals and employers, will meet in the coming weeks to make a final decision on the future of the reporting effort. But with the California Hospital Association withdrawing its support, it seems unlikely that Cal Hospital Compare can continue.

A new state law requires health officials to collect and publish their own hospital quality data, but there’s widespread agreement that the reports are so unreliable, they can’t be used to compare hospitals.

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