July 07, 2008
Data compares hospital quality of care and pricing
Montpelier, VT— How well, comparatively, do Vermont hospitals prevent the spread of the socalled
“superbugs” and other in-hospital infections? How does the price of a procedure at one
Vermont hospital compare to others? How do surgical mortality numbers compare around the
state? How satisfied were patients in general with the care they received? How healthy are
individual hospitals, financially? These and numerous other performance categories are
available for consumers to compare online, hospital to hospital. The Vermont Department of
Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA) oversees the annual
collection of the data, now in its 4th year. It is updated and expanded each June on a part of the
BISHCA website called the Vermont Hospital Report Cards (www.vthospitalreportcards.info).
The BISHCA report also compares Vermont hospital performance to national averages in many
categories. Notably, Vermont was among the first in the country to report hospital-specific
infection rates, and today, only a handful of states report them as yet.
Putting such hospital data on a public website gives consumers a window on how hospitals are
performing in a range of areas, according to the numbers. Many legitimate factors outside the
bounds of the report cards influence consumer choice and speak to the overall quality of hospital
care and management. But, the Hospital Report Cards have had a growing impact. BISHCA
Commissioner Paulette Thabault said, “The open sharing of data is a galvanizing force.
Hospitals do want to perform better, and this helps them evaluate operations and pinpoint
resources. Over a relatively short period of time we have seen improvements in many of the
required reporting areas. Now we can add infection rates as a new reporting area to monitor for
Each hospital also posts its own report card data on its website along with additional information
for consumers. The individual hospital links can all be reached through the BISHCA website.
The report has expanded each year. New this year in the area of quality of care, consumers will
find information about how well hospitals prevent and control antibiotic resistant infections (the
“superbug” MRSA is an example), how well they prevent central line associated bloodstream
infections, and surgical site infection rates for patients who have received total abdominal
hysterectomy surgeries. Continuing categories include information about heart attack care, heart
failure care, pneumonia care, preventing complications from surgery, nurse staffing, central line
associated blood stream infection rates, volume and mortality for selected surgical procedures,
and patient satisfaction.
New financial information this year includes prices for common physician diagnostic services,
both inpatient and outpatient. Continuing categories from previous years include hospitals' free
and discount care policies, and reports about the financial health of hospitals.
The publication of the hospital report card data arose from 2003 legislation known as Act 53, a
bill covering a range of health care facility planning and regulation. The reporting is made
possible with the help of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, the Vermont
hospitals, the Vermont Health Department, the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, the
Northeast Health Care Quality Foundation, and individual businesses and consumers.
Source: Banking, Insurance, Securities Health Care Administration
Last Updated at: July 07, 2008 10:06:58