Saturday, November 12, 2011

First Ohio, now California

In the footsteps of Ohio Hospital Association, the California Hospital Association seems poised to take a great leap backward in the realm of transparency.  Payers and Providers reports:

The California Hospital Association has withdrawn its support for the CHART healthcare quality program, a dramatic move that raises questions about the future of the landmark initiative.

The California Hospitals and Assessment Reporting Task Force was launched in 2004,and is one of the first coordinated efforts to report on the quality of care in a state’s hospitals. More than 240 facilities representing nearly 90% of the inpatient beds statewide report on various facets of the quality of care they deliver, including infection rates, treating heart attack victims and maternity care. The data and analysis is posted for consumers on the website.

As in the case of Ohio, the decision seems to be based on thoughts that the CMS Hospital Compare website and other such national sites create duplication and undue burdens on hospitals.  What a shame.  The California site is well constructed and among the easiest to use that I have seen.  That is especially the case if you are a Californian and want to view local hospitals quickly and easily.  También hay una versión en español que funciona con un simple clic.  Why would you want to discontinue the one that is done well in favor of the one that is cumbersome and out of date?


Anonymous said...

I am trying to look at this fairly and not jump to the conclusion that it's just an excuse for the hospitals. I have never forgotten, Paul, that long list you once published on your blog, of all the various things your hospital had to report or keep track of for various agencies and insurance companies - I am sure it is a significant burden.
Perhaps the easiest solution is for CMS to borrow the best of the state sites and to require more real-time data, and just improve its own site. I hope the hospitals recognize, however, that their actions are contributing to the 'federalization' of health care. So don't complain about states losing autonomy, if this is going to be their attitude.


e-Patient Dave said...

Agreed w/ nonlocal. But I get a really creepy feeling at the idea that hospitals would essentially say it just isn't worth the extra effort to make their safety information public.

Or is that not what they're saying?

I'm wondering now about finding a way to publish the info that exists at CMS: dig it out and "prettify it" with modern graphics software. Might that be possible?

Paul Levy said...

Sure, but is it worth it to prettify stuff that's two years old?

Anonymous said...

Another thing that strikes me about your comments, Dave and Paul, is that hospitals (including my own former workplace) love to say that the negative data about them is old, and that NOW they score in the top X % on whatever parameter. But out of the other side of their mouths they complain about having to publicly supply real-time data - leaving us to 'trust' that their results NOW are better than those reported on these sites.
Something is wrong with this picture.

I didn't look - but are the data they supply to CMS older than the data they were supplying in Ohio and CA? If so, there may be the answer - plausible deniability, that NOW we are better....


Barry Carol said...

If hospitals are collecting this data in real time for their own internal management purposes, they should be able to report it to CMS at least quarterly. CMS, for its part, should be able to post the data to its website shortly after receiving it. If it can’t because of inadequate manpower, it could hire an outside contractor to do it as it does to pay claims.