Patient mortality rates at Pennsylvania hospitals decreased to 4.4% in 2006 from 4.7% in 2004, according to the states newest hospital performance report.
Readmission rates, however, increased to 19.1% from 18.7% over the same three-year period. For the categories covered in the report by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, there were 57,993 readmissions, resulting in almost $2.3 billion in charges and 352,000 hospital days, officials said. Complications or infections were the cause of 15,057 of the readmissions, which accounted for $734 million in charges and 111,000 hospital days.
Deaths decreased in 18 of 26 treatment categories with the largest decline in respiratory failure without mechanical ventilationto 13.5% from 17%. Notably, according to officials, out of the 20 categories where three years of readmission data were available, the largest increase in readmission rates also was in respiratory failure without mechanical ventilationto 26.2% from 24.3%.
In response, officials at the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania cautioned in a news release that the report is just one of many data tools developed to assist consumers. The linkage between the decline in mortality rates and an increase in readmission rates reflects the fact that the quality of care hospitals provide is saving more lives than ever, said Carolyn Scanlan, president and chief executive officer of HAP, in the release. -- by Cinda Becker
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