The Michigan Health and Hospital Association last week released the first public report showing the clinical performance of its individual members.
All but three of the state's 167 acute-care hospitals submitted data. The 103-page report measures primarily lengths of stay and mortality rates in eight medical and surgical areas vs. expected rates based on each institution's case mix.
It includes Caesarean-section rates and the rates of vaginal delivery after a woman has had a C-section.
The MHA hopes the report will be a catalyst for discussion on data release policy.
Pending state legislation would mandate the release of healthcare data to the public, and the hospital association wants to make sure its members aren't singled out (Nov. 13, 1995, p. 36).
The MHA urged physicians, insurers and employers to release their data.
"We realize that our initial release is a starting point and is helpful primarily to hospitals for improving the care they provide, but we expect that our action will be an example for others to follow," MHA President Spencer Johnson said.
Dennis White, executive director of the Ann Arbor-based South Central Michigan Health Alliance, a small-employer coalition, called the release a step in the right direction.
However, he said, there are major deficiencies, such as a lack of financial, outpatient and physician-specific data.
Also, he said, the data have limited use as long as they're controlled by hospitals.
MHA Executive Vice President David Seaman said the intent is not to derail the data-release legislation but spark discussion on what types of healthcare data are needed.
The data, based on 1994 records, suggest Michigan hospitals have fairly good mortality rates but relatively long lengths of stay.
Ninety-two percent of mortality rates fell within the expected range or better. Seventy-three percent of length-of-stay measures fell within the expected range or better, the report said.
Overall, for 81% of the measures, excluding births, hospitals performed as well as or better than expected.
The MHA has made copies available to consumers upon request and sent copies to public libraries. It's also available on the MHA's World Wide Web site at http: www.mha.org/performance.