PO Box 409095
Chicago, IL 60640
Length: 4 minutes
Interviewer: Jean DerGurahian, reporter, Modern Healthcare
Interviewee: Ann Torregrossa, deputy director and director of policy for the Governors Office of Health Care Reform in Pennsylvania
[00:00:10.26] Womans Voice: Welcome to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. With each edition of Special Report Extra, listeners hear directly from key healthcare executives involved in the major events shaping the industry.
[00:00:29.23] Jean DerGurahian: This is Jean DerGurahian, reporter with Modern Healthcare. Were speaking with Ann Torregrossa, deputy director and director of policy for the Governors Office of Health Care Reform in the state of Pennsylvania. The topic is state public reporting systems, which was featured in the Dec. 10, 2007, issue of Modern Healthcare. Ann, thanks so much for joining us.
[00:00:50.11] Ann Torregrossa: Oh, its a pleasure to be with you.
[00:00:52.11] Jean DerGurahian: Pennsylvania has been collecting quality data for 20 years. What are the lessons learned in collecting and analyzing quality information?
[00:00:59.11] Ann Torregrossa: Well, I think there are three. One, you cant sit still and wait for others to come out with measures of quality. If something is important, a quality issue for your state, and you need to push the envelope, sit down with people and figure out how to measure it and how to collect it. The other thing is that I think that weve learned the quality of care in Pennsylvania is good, and that was really reassuring. And weve learned the areas that we really need to work on for quality improvement. And, finally, I think that weve found out that public reporting really helps improve the quality of care. And I think this has been justified in scientific literature. That, for instance, mortality rates go down in states where there is public reporting.
[00:01:39.10] Jean DerGurahian: We had some evidence suggesting that patients arent using information disseminated in public reports. What, then, do you think is the motivation for hospitals to publicly release the data about their adverse events?
[00:01:51.06] Ann Torregrossa: I think more and more, theres a transparency movement with patients expecting information on how safe they will be in a hospital. And I think that in the past, patients would go wherever their primary-care physician or nurse recommended they go. More and more, theyre looking at [unclear] reporting to see where levels of healthcare-acquired infection are, who does the best hip and knee replacements, so I think that if hospitals want to be considered by patients, they have to get on to the transparency movement.
[00:02:20.17] Jean DerGurahian: How is Pennsylvania using data reporting as healthcare reform, and is it a system that could be easily adopted in other states?
[00:02:28.26] Ann Torregrossa: I think everything that Pennsylvania has done could be adopted by other states. We have had the advantage of having the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council collect hospital data for two decades. What we plan to do in the future is to take this baseline data for some of the big-ticket items, like avoidable hospitalizations for chronic disease, and hospital-acquired infections. They are two big cost and quality drivers in our system. And seek additional powers for the insurance commissioner, so if a plan comes in seeking rate increases over a certain amount, that the insurance commissioner could look behind and see what those plans and hospitals are doing about eliminating avoidable costs that affect the quality.
The other thing that weve done is passed probably the most advanced hospital-acquired infection legislation in the country. Hospitals are reporting about hospital-acquired infections, as are nursing homes on all infections. The department of health will be establishing benchmarks, and if hospitals do not improve and reduce their hospital-acquired infections, they can be subject to licensure action. All of these, I think, are things that other states can do.
[00:03:40.23] Jean DerGurahian: This is Jean DerGurahian, reporter for Modern Healthcare. Weve been speaking with Ann Torregrossa, deputy director and director of policy for the Governors Office of Healthcare Reform in Pennsylvania.
[00:03:50.15] Womans voice: Thank you for listening to this edition of Special Report Extra, brought to you by Modern Healthcare and powered by Martopia. Listen to other editions of Special Report Extra by visiting the multimedia section of Modern Healthcare Online at ModernHealthcare.com.