California Releases Performance Data for Cardiac Surgeons
For the first time, California is releasing performance information for cardiac surgeons in the state, marking an expansion of a project that provides quality information about cardiac procedures for hospitals in the state, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development compiled the report, using data on coronary artery bypass graft procedures performed by 302 cardiac surgeons. Information is taken from Jan. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31, 2004.
All data were risk-adjusted to account for patients' health and whether the procedure was being performed on an emergency basis.
According to the report, 95% of cardiac surgeons experienced patient mortality rates near the expected average of 3.08%. Overall, patient mortality rates ranged from 0% to 89.8%.
About 20,000 patients in California undergo the procedure annually, with such admissions accounting for about 8.5% of non-maternity, adult hospital admissions in the state. About half of the surgeries are undertaken in emergencies.
The information, along with data on cardiac mortality rates in hospitals, was scheduled for release on Friday, but the Union-Tribune discovered part of the data on a state Web site ahead of time.
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania also release mortality rates for individual heart surgeons.
Since New York began to release hospital and physician data, the mortality rate for cardiac bypass procedures has dropped from 3.5% to 2.2% (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/12).
Also on the topic of cardiac care, NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday reported on U.S. News and World Report's annual list of the 50 best hospitals for treating heart problems. The list is scheduled to be released on Friday.
The segment includes comments from:
- Harlan Krumholz, a heart specialist at Yale University who cross-analyzed past U.S. News and World Report rankings;
- Avery Comarow, an editor at the magazine who oversees the list; and
- Howard Hermann, a cardiologist at the University of Pennsylvania (Aubrey, "Morning Edition," NPR, 7/12).
A partial transcript and full audio of the segment are available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.