Pennsylvania hospitals that perform cardiac surgery had the same or better patient-care outcomes in 1991 as in 1990, while average charges rose an average of 10%, a new report shows.
In its second annual consumer guide on cardiac surgery, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council offered a statistical picture of consistency.
At 33 of the 35 hospitals profiled this year, the number of deaths among cardiac bypass surgery patients in 1991 fell within the expected range, three hospitals had fewer deaths than expected, and none did worse than expected.
In last year's report, which measured the performance of 34 hospitals using 1990 data, 23 hospitals had death rates within the predicted range and four hospitals had fewer deaths than expected. Seven hospitals exceeded the number of predicted deaths.
Average charges for cardiac bypass surgery in 1991 ranged from $23,000 at Reading (Pa.) Hospital and Medical Center to $89,000 at Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia.
Graduate President and Chief Executive Officer Samuel H. Steinberg questioned the report's use of gross charges instead of the actual amounts received for service. In 1991, Graduate charged an average of $89,236 but received an average payment of $24,716 per procedure, he said. Medicare, which accounted for 40% of the hospital's 283 cardiac bypass patients, paid about $25,000 per case, and Blue Cross, which accounted for 22% of the cases, paid a flat rate of $5,700 per case, he said.
The consumer guide explains that charges do not include physician fees and "are usually more than actual payments." Charges are "a reasonable and consistent basis for comparison," the report said.