A recent report comparing California hospitals‘ inpatient mortality rates for certain treatments was a mixed bag for Woodland Healthcare and UC Davis Medical Center hospitals.
According to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the UC Davis Medical Center has worse than average mortality rates for strokes and craniotomy surgeries.
UCDMC comes in with a 13 percent mortality rate in the craniotomy surgery category, compared to a statewide average of 6.7 percent. It had a 14.9 percent mortality rate for acute strokes compared to the state’s 10.4 percent.
The report on California hospitals‘ 2007 mortality rates included eight treatments. Esopohageal resection, pancreatic resection, craniotomy, carotid endarterectomy and percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty were indicators that related to death after surgery. Acute stroke, gastro-intestinal hemorrhage and hip fracture related to death after treatment for a medical condition.
Woodland Healthcare is also struggling in the acute stroke department.
Dominic Erba, M.D., medical director at Woodland Healthcare, said in a written statement that this one report does not tell the whole story.
“We are pleased that, overall, the data highlight our commitment to quality and show we perform well,” Erba said. “We recognize that the data may show us where we have opportunities for improvement and focus.“
In June 2008, the Joint Commission completed a review and assessment of Woodland Healthcare’s stroke care and outcomes. The facility was awarded with a re-certification of our Primary Stroke Center status and a “Gold Seal of Approval” for stroke care.
Eight out of 11 hospitals in the Sacramento region had worse rates for certain treatments. Solano County’s four hospitals that offer five out of the eight reported indicators were not labeled worse.
“For some reason, we find that quite a few hospitals in the Los Angeles and Orange County area have better a quality ranking, especially for stroke care,” said Joseph Parker, director of the Healthcare Outcome Center.
Stanford Hospital had a better craniotomy mortality rate than the state as well.
UCDMC, Woodland Healthcare and other hospitals use OSHPD data to measure and assess patient safety and hospital performance compared to others.
“The newly released OSHPD data provide a valuable snapshot in time, which – along with other tools – help us identify potential areas for further study,” said Carole Gan, news service manager at UC Davis Health System, in an e-mail.
She said the high mortality rate for hip fracture, acute stroke and craniotomy reflects UC Davis‘ role as a Level One trauma center. It is a regional referral center, which treats critically ill and injured patients who arrive with a very poor prognosis.
The data is intended for hospital use, patients, as well as businesses choosing their insurance providers for their members, although other factors must be considered, said Parker.
The information was compiled using patient data submitted electronically by the hospitals. The report intends for hospitals to consider the information but “does not regard them as definitive measures of quality.“
A risk-adjustment statistical method is used to ensure all hospitals have a “level playing field,” Parker said.
Because of where they are located, some hospitals have sicker or healthier – like in wealthier areas – patients than others. Certain hospitals treat high-risk patients first who have a greater possibility to death following surgery or treatment.
“Risk-adjustment is a complex process that’s still being refined,” Gan said.
UC Davis monitors and reports hospital data while comparing its performance with 89 other university hospitals. In 2008 Leapfrog Safe Practices ranked UC Davis 13 out of 1,153 hospitals nationwide on a variety of patient safety indicators designated by the National Quality Forum.
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