New Report Shows PA Hospitals Are Saving More Lives Than Ever

Mortality Rates Decline Significantly For Eight Common Medical Conditions, Readmissions Also Down

HARRISBURG, PA (December 17)—A new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) shows that, during 2013, hospitals saved lives that might have been lost just five years prior. Hospitals also reduced readmission rates, preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and their associated costs.

From 2008 through 2013, hospitals have significantly reduced mortality rates for half of 16 common medical conditions studied during both years. None of the reported conditions showed a statistically significant increase in mortality.

“Every life saved is a real patient with family and loved ones, who all have a renewed sense of hope,” said Andy Carter, The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania’s (HAP) president and chief executive officer. “The additional lives saved is a testament to the skills and dedication of the state’s doctors, nurses, and other caregivers. This has been, and continues to be, a collaborative, team effort.

“These new findings show that Pennsylvania hospitals continue to improve the care they provide through ongoing education and the implementation of best clinical practices. Hospitals continue to push up on the quality, safety, and excellence of medical care, and down on avoidable health care spending.”

Hospitals achieved some of their most significant improvements in the treatment of septicemia, a deadly and difficult-to-treat infection of the bloodstream that is on the rise. From 2008 until 2013, the number of septicemia cases treated in Pennsylvania hospitals increased by nearly 75 percent. During the same time, the septicemia mortality rate fell more than one-third, from 18.8 percent (2008) to 12.2 percent (2013). This means that, during 2013, Pennsylvania hospitals saved the lives of more than 3,000 septicemia patients who likely may have lost their lives to the infection five years ago.

Pennsylvania hospitals also achieved significant reductions in readmission rates for eight of 13 conditions analyzed. The largest significant decrease statewide was congestive heart failure, where the readmission rate dropped from 27.2 percent to 23.5 percent.

“This year’s hospital performance report exposes the “behind the scenes” and important quality-improvement and cost-reduction work to which hospitals and health systems dedicate themselves,” said Carter. “There will always be improvements to be made regarding quality and readmissions; however, the state’s hospitals have made consistent progress on these priorities, and this report illustrates that they are not slowing down.”