Virginia Health Information's Annual Report Compares Virginia Hospitals on Heart Care -- Mortality Rates Continue 4-Year Decline

RICHMOND, Va., April 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cardiac care continues to be the number one reason for hospital admissions in Virginia, and heart disease is the leading cause of death. Virginia Health Information (VHI) has released its annual Cardiac Care Report -- a free, searchable, online tool -- which provides quality comparisons among all Virginia hospitals on common heart health care procedures.

"Consumer-friendly health care quality information is still a new and evolving field but is increasingly relevant and necessary," says Michael Lundberg, VHI Executive Director. Virginians ages 60-69 comprise a majority of cardiac care patients in the report. "The entire health care system is preparing for the baby boomer generation to begin turning 65 in 2011," notes Michael. "Our data is a valuable resource for patients who want to make informed decisions about where they go to receive quality care." Virginians ages 40-59 comprise a significant percentage of heart care patients. Michael adds that "patients with private insurance coverage may have added reason to be knowledgeable about their treatment options as high-deductible health plans gain traction in the marketplace." In 2005, only three percent of employers were offering high-deductible coverage options; in 2007, that number jumped to 10 percent.

Consumers can view two years of data on mortality and readmission rates for each Virginia hospital. The reports are divided into three categories:

National studies indicate that facilities performing a higher volume of surgeries may experience higher quality outcomes especially when employing newer techniques. Variation exists among Virginia hospitals' mortality and readmission rates, as well as hospital-specific variation from one year to the next. Notable trends include:

VHI's report takes into account hospitals that care for sicker patients that are more likely to die or be readmitted. Ramesh K. Shukla, Ph.D. of the VCU Department of Health Administration led the effort to guide the development of a scientific methodology to fairly compare hospitals.

Visitors can also find physicians by city or county treating heart patients. The report includes physician names, contact information, hospital affiliation, foreign languages spoken and education.

Virginia Health Information (VHI) is the nonprofit organization that the Commonwealth of Virginia, businesses and other organizations go to for consumer and other health information. Cardiac Care information is free to the public and may be found at www.vhi.org. For those without Internet access, VHI will mail information to those that call 1-877-VHI-INFO. VHI publishes reports and consumer guides on health insurance, hospitals, HMOs, nursing facilities, physicians and other topics at www.vhi.org.

SOURCE Virginia Health Information

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