Survey: Hospitals need more work on quality measures, cost containment

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Hospital quality is not up to par for high-risk procedures and costs continue to rise, according a recent Leapfrog Hospital Survey, which garnered responses from 1,244 hospitals across 48 U.S. states.

Of the 1,244 hospitals who responded, 53.5 percent met Leapfrog standards for CABG this year, compared with 43 percent in 2008. Additionally, 44 percent of the participating hospitals met criteria for PCI versus 35 percent in 2008.

During the survey, the company also looked at waste spending. To do this, Leapfrog assessed survey responses pertaining to 14-day readmission rates and length of stay for CABG, PCI, heart attack and pneumonia.

After assessing for risk-adjusted mean length of stay, results showed that between the highest and lowest performing hospitals there was a 56 percent gap for costs and resources used for CABG—only 25.1 percent met Leapfrog resource use standards.

In addition, for PCI, results showed a 79 percent gap between the highest and lowest hospital performers—24.5 percent met standards for resource use in 2009 compared with 26 percent in 2008.

“The variations in resource use among hospitals performing the same type of surgery highlight the opportunities that exist for significantly cutting the costs of care. Employers and other large purchasers of care need to be assertive in demanding hospitals reduce this waste and improve their Leapfrog performance,” said Leah Binder, CEO, Leapfrog Group.

Results showed that 50 percent or less of hospitals met Leapfrog standards criteria for six procedures: aortic valve replacement, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, pancreatic resection, esophageal resection, bariatric surgery and high-risk deliveries.

The percentage of hospitals that met the gold standard for the aforementioned procedures were: 11.8, 36.1, 33.5, 31.5, 36.6 and 29.9 percent, respectively.

According to the company, depending on the high-risk procedure being performed, a patient’s risk of dying after the procedure has the potential to be reduced by 2 to 4 percent if he or she is treated at hospitals that meet "Leapfrog standards."

If benchmarks of care and quality are improved, the company said that there is also the potential to save $4,715 on each hospital admission.