Old patients are the reason why Redlands (Calif.) Community Hospital experienced high Medicare death rates and landed on HCFA's list of questionable hospitals for three years running, says a report released by the 194-bed facility.
The report is based on an internal quality study conducted by the hospital.
After Redlands appeared on the annual lists from 1990 to 1992, HCFA told the hospital that it shouldn't be concerned because the results were based on only a sample of the patients it treated, said Gary Cottongim, Redlands' president.
But, said Mr. Cottongim, newspapers picked up the story, quoting then-HCFA head William Toby as saying the data "show there are quality problems."
After an initial study showed HCFA's numbers were flawed, Mr. Cottongim met with HCFA officials. More studies were conducted, including a clinical review by UCLA physicians, which showed that an older population skewed Redlands' data.
HCFA last year scrapped the release of the 1993 hospital Medicare mortality report.