Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. has begun a series of reports in local markets comparing the quality of care and prices of some clinical services with those of competing hospitals and other Columbia facilities.
A press release issued by 201-bed Redmond Regional Medical Center, a Columbia-owned hospital in Rome, Ga., in February explained the purpose of the reports.
"Each of these reports is designed to compare Columbia's performance with its competitors on five key indicators-charges, cost, length of stay, complications and mortality. Each report also provides an internal ranking of all Columbia hospitals and markets as well," Redmond Regional said.
A Redmond Regional official initially agreed to discuss the program with MODERN HEALTHCARE. The official later referred all questions to Columbia's corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., but executives there didn't return telephone calls.
According to Columbia's report, Redmond Regional had the lowest mortality rate in Georgia for open-heart surgery. Redmond's mortality rate for coronary artery bypass grafts was 1.58%, compared with Columbia's average of 4.13% and Georgia's average of 5%, the report said.
Redmond Regional also ranks second among Columbia's 65 hospitals that offer open-heart surgery when all five major indicators are included in the ranking.
An official with Floyd Medical Center, Rome, Ga., a 331-bed public hospital that competes with Redmond Regional, said Columbia has not used the data for marketing or advertising purposes.
A spokesman for the Rome News Tribune also confirmed that Redmond hasn't placed any ads touting its low mortality rates in open-heart surgery and angioplasty.
Redmond Regional's press release did not mention how the hospital ranked on prices, costs, length of stay or complications. No further information was provided about the conclusions of the reports or why they were issued.
However, data from the Georgia Health Planning Agency showed that Redmond Regional is one of the most expensive hospitals in the state for open-heart services.
For example, Redmond Regional's average charge for coronary bypass with cardiac catheterization was $46,844 in 1994, the state said. Without catheterization, the average charge for coronary bypass was $39,499. The state does not compile statewide averages by procedure.
By comparison, St. Joseph's Hospital, Atlanta, averaged $33,634 and $25,824, respectively; Emory University, Atlanta, averaged $35,900 and $29,257; Georgia Baptist, Atlanta, averaged $43,189 and $32,544.
Floyd Medical Center doesn't offer open-heart services, said Michael Clark, a spokesman for the state planning agency. However, Floyd Medical officials have expressed interest in applying for a certificate of need, Clark said.
Overall, Redmond Regional's average charge per day was $2,433 and per stay was $12,666 in 1994, compared with $1,571 per day and $8,362 per stay for Floyd Medical, a public hospital.
The average statewide hospital charge for all services was $1,406 per day and $9,419 per stay.