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Quality Up, Mortality and Readmission Rates Down for Heart Surgery Patients in PA

January 31, 2017

Hospitals saving greater percentage of patients’ lives, preventing readmissions, and reducing health care spending

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) today said that a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) shows improvements in the safety and quality of heart surgeries performed by Pennsylvania physicians in Pennsylvania hospitals.

During the past two decades, Pennsylvania hospitals have reduced by more than half (53.4%) in-hospital mortality rates for coronary artery bypass graft surgery, the most common type of open heart surgery. Mortality rates for these surgeries fell from 3.2 percent during 1994 to 1.5 percent during 2015.

In-hospital mortality rates for heart valve surgeries also were cut nearly in half (down 46.7%) since 2005. These rates dropped from 5.2 percent during 2005 to 2.7 percent during 2015.
The report also shows that a smaller percentage of heart and heart valve surgery patients needed to be readmitted to the hospital, for more care, during the first 30 days after discharge. Hospitals reduced these 30-day readmission rates:

  • By 17 percent for open heart surgery patients (comparing 2014/2015 rates to 2002/2003 rates)
  • By more than 25 percent for heart valve surgery patients (comparing 2014/2015 rates to those in 2005/2006)

According to PHC4, these readmission reductions translate into 373 fewer hospitalizations and about $4.2 million in savings.

“Pennsylvania hospitals are saving lives that a few decades ago would have been lost,” said Andy Carter, HAP President and CEO. “At the same time, dedicated doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff are helping patients avoid return trips to the hospital. Patients experience less concern and inconvenience, and unnecessary health care spending is avoided.”

“Hospitals have been working together, putting in place the best ways to eliminate complications, such as infections and blood clots, that can happen as a result of these complex surgeries,” said Michael J. Consuelos, MD, HAP’s Senior Vice President, Clinical Integration. “Clearly this work is paying off for our patients.”

In partnership with the federal government, HAP leads these collaborative hospital efforts through its Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN), one of many initiatives to improve health care quality and safety that began with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“As we await the fate of the ACA, and details about possible replacements, let’s take a moment to consider the ACA’s many moving parts, and what they have meant to Pennsylvania patients and their hospitals,” said Carter.

Priscilla Koutsouradis
(215) 575-3743
cell: (215) 906-2739
Twitter: @HAPupdates 


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