Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] New database from CMS: Medicare Provider Charge Data

From the 15 October 2013 post at Public Health – Research & Library News

 

The Department of Health & Human Services has created a database that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge.  The data, on the charges for services that are provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays and 30 common outpatient services, show significant variation across the country and within communities.

For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.  Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

Access the database here and on the Health Statistics research guide.

 

Hospital

Hospital (Photo credit: José Goulão)

 

 

October 16, 2013 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hospital readmission rates linked to availability of care, socioeconomics

From the 11 May 2012 Eureka News Alert

American Heart Association meeting report – Abstract 12

Differences in regional hospital readmission rates for heart failure are more closely tied to the availability of care and socioeconomics than to hospital performance or patients’ degree of illness, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care & Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2012.

U.S. regional readmission rates for heart failure vary widely ― from 10 percent to 32 percent ― researchers found. Communities with higher rates were likely to have more physicians and hospital beds and their populations were likely to be poor, black and relatively sicker. People 65 and older are also readmitted more frequently.

To cut costs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to penalize hospitals with higher readmission rates related to heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia. Next year, hospitals with higher-than-average 30-day readmission rates will face reductions in Medicare payments.

But the penalties don’t address the supply and societal influences that can increase readmission rates, said Karen E. Joynt, M.D., lead author of the study and an instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Mass….

May 14, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

To Gauge Hospital Quality, Patients Deserve More Outcome Measures One Comment

From the 15 February 2012 Health Care Blog item

Patients, providers and the public have much to celebrate. This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare websiteadded central line-associated bloodstream infections in intensive care units to its list of publicly reported quality of care measures for individual hospitals.

Why is this so important? There is universal support for the idea that the U.S. health care system should pay for value rather than volume, for the results we achieve rather than efforts we make. Health care needs outcome measures for the thousands of procedures and diagnoses that patients encounter. Yet we have few such measures and instead must gauge quality by looking to other public data, such as process of care measures (whether patients received therapies shown to improve outcomes) and results of patient surveys rating their hospital experiences….

Related Resources

 

 

February 15, 2012 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories, health care | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doctor Rating Web Site Health Grades is a Time Magazine “Best 50″ – How Trustworthy Is the Content??

HealthGrades Logo / Guiding Americans to their Best Health

HealthGrades has been rating doctors, dentists, and hospitals on five star scales for over ten years. Ratings include communication skills, time spent, trust, and office environment. There are also links to board sanctions.

This past August Time Magazine rated Health Grades as one of the 50 best Websites of 2011.

Recently there was a lively discussion on this topic at the medical librarian listserv (Medlib-L).
Among the responses…

  • Two people noted contact information for their doctors was not correct
  • “The self selection process creates a huge bias. The people who are angry and disappointed are the ones motivated to write.”
  • “patient rating is 4.5 stars out of 5, but he’s only had 4 patients comment on him. In skimming through other doctors in Fargo, very few have more than 4 patient comments and everyone has between 4 and 5 stars.”
  • “My doctor is in private solo practice and when you look at the lists by highlighted or popularity they are very institutionally presented. The independents come at the end of the list so this is not a fair representation”
  • “the physician she replaced upon his retirement in April 2008 is still listed (with one review), although he has been gone for almost 4 years”

Although these comments do not compromise an in depth critique of Health Grades they do raise questions about its currency, contact information correctness, and basis of comparison (basically unsolicited input from patients). It would be wise to use Health Grades in conjunction with other sources of information to make good decisions on choosing or evaluating a doctor, dentist, or hospital.

Some additional sources of information

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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