New Statewide Hospital Comparison Finds Different Mortality Rates for Heart Attacks
California hospitals overall are improving the care of people who experience heart attacks, according to a survey released by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, but the "improvement is not across the board," the AP/Sacramento Bee reports. The survey, which looked at 129,000 patients at 398 hospitals, found that just over 12% of the patients died within a month of treatment compared to 15% in 1991 (AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/23). According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Kaiser Permanente operated nine of the 14 Northern California hospitals that scored "significantly better than expected," while Stanford University Medical Center and the University of California-San Francisco had "disappointing results." Brigid Ide, the director of performance improvement at UCSF, said the results present "distorted picture," adding that they are based on "coded administrative data that doesn't capture the depth of the therapies and drugs" the hospital offers. According to the Chronicle, a "common complaint" about the study was that it did not take into account hospitals that might have had a disproportionate number of "do not resuscitate" orders for heart-attack patients (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/23). Debbe Moreno, cardiovascular services director for the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System in Contra Costa County, which rated "significantly worse than expected," said, "We're fully supportive of the program, but we think there are variables that aren't fully captured." While state officials admitted that the report might have had "flaws," Loel Solomon, deputy director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development's health care quality and analysis division, said, "We're not interested in naming and shaming, but we are trying to provide some tools to establish some quality benchmarks" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/23). The full report is 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.