Hospital rates for some PA HMOs patients rising

For decades, it's looked like HMOs had pretty much cracked the problem of keeping hospitalization rates at a minimum across broad populations. But for some reason, that doesn't seem to be the case in Pennsylvania, where in 2006, more adults were hospitalized for various illnesses, and more children for asthma. These stats are courtesy of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, an agency that analyzes hospital finances and care quality. Among other key trends, the agency found that for the nine major for-profit HMOs studied, 105.9 of every 10,000 patients were hospitalized with diabetes, up from 94.3 during the previous year. Meanwhile, patients hospitalized for gastrointestinal infections rose from 3.9 to 4.8 of 10,000 during the same period, with children hospitalized for asthma going up from 14.7 to 18.5. Oddly enough, despite these trends, the HMOs performed at or above national averages in most preventive care categories. The agency has said that it doesn't know why the numbers went up.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Philadelphia Inquirer piece