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PA Hospital Mortality Rates Decline, PHC4 Report Notes

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Between 2007 and 2012, the statewide in-hospital mortality rate in Pennsylvania decreased for nine of 16 conditions, according to the 2012 Hospital Performance Report released  by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

The largest decrease was in Septicemia, where the mortality rate decreased from 18.3% in 2007 to 13.7% in 2012.

Septicemia had the largest percentage increase in hospital admissions, rising 61.6% from 24,642 admissions in 2007, to 39,832 in 2012, the report states.

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

“The data suggest that dangerous blood infection cases are being diagnosed and treated earlier and more effectively,” said Joe Martin, executive director of PHC4. “The timely prevention of infections has become a national mission, and has been galvanized by the process of public reporting and aggressive provider response in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.”

During the same period, there was a statistically significant decrease in seven of the 13 conditions for which readmissions were analyzed in the PHC4 report. The largest decrease was in Congestive Heart Failure, where the readmission rate decreased from 26.9% in 2007 to 24.5% in 2012.

“Lowering readmissions has been a major emphasis of both national reform efforts and for Pennsylvania hospitals, physicians and nurses,” noted Martin. “The decrease in Congestive Heart Failure, a major target of these efforts, suggests these efforts are having some success.”

According to the PHC4 report, the only analyzed treatment classification showing a statistically significant increase in mortality, statewide, was Chest Pain, where the rate increased from 0.04% in 2007 to 0.1% in 2012. Chest Pain was also the only condition with a statistically significant increase in the rate of readmission, rising from 10.9% in 2007 to 13.3% in 2012. Hospital admissions for Chest Pain had the largest percentage decrease in volume statewide—a 63.7% drop, from 37,868 admissions in 2007, to 13,747 in 2012.

The statistical analysis in the PHC4 report is risk adjusted to take into account the severity of patient illness when considering the effectiveness of an individual hospital’s treatment.

The HPR evaluates hospitals statewide on 16 medical conditions and surgical procedures. It contains hospital-specific information about volume of cases, mortality, readmissions and charges for patients admitted to 157 general acute care hospitals in the state.

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