State hospital association: Report cards outlived usefulness with federal data

State volunteer reporting of hospital quality, such as patient satisfaction, mortality from complications, and infection rates, may have outlived its usefulness, according to California Hospital Association Jan Emerson-Shea about California's hospital report cards. In light of Medicare's mandated public reporting on a federal level, voluntary state efforts may be duplicative in this administrative--oftentimes, burdensome--task.

"Today there are numerous places consumers can get information on the quality of care delivered by hospitals," Emerson-Shea said in a KQED, NPR, and Kaiser Health News article. "Public reporting has very much come of age at this point in time."

Although hailed as a national victory for public transparency, some argue the state report cards contain more detailed information than federally required quality data. For example, although a new California law requires health officials to publish their own hospital data, some say the data is unreliable and can't be used to actually compare hospitals.

Critics also contend that one major difference between previous state report cards and the federally mandated data is ICU mortality rates. Nearly all of the measures, except ICU mortality, will continue to be reported either to Medicare or to California state regulators, according to Emerson-Shea.

Similarly, Consumer Reports in October reported that some of the leading hospital systems were pulling out from reporting infection rates to the premier industry quality group, The Leapfrog Group. Cleveland Clinic, along with Henry Ford in Detroit and Parkview Health in Indiana, has stopped reporting hospital-acquired infection rates to The Leapfrog Group and, instead, opted for other databases.

The board of directors of the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting Taskforce will meet in the coming weeks to decide the future of Cal Hospital Compare, but it's unlikely it will continue, according to the article.

For more information:
- read the KQED, NPR, and Kaiser Health News article
- check out the Cal Hospital Compare website
- see the Hospital Compare website

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