advertiser banner advertiser banner advertiser banner
Digital Issues

Home >  News >  January, 2014

Yes, High-Volume Hip and Knee Hospitals Also Have Highest Readmissions

But do the numbers really tell the whole story?

Published: January 28, 2014

Do higher-than-average readmission and complication rates among hospitals performing large numbers of hip and knee replacements suggest below-average performance on the part of those facilities, or is the situation more nuanced than simple numbers can reveal?

In the Philadelphia area, several high-volume and reputable hospitals are defending their performance in light of new Medicare data showing that their readmission and complication rates for joint replacements are higher than the national averages.

For example, at Pennsylvania Hospital, which had an 8.2% readmission rate and a 4.7% complication rate, both higher than average, a hospital official told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the percentages may be misleading because a physician there had been willing to take on especially complicated cases.

Others say the numbers could reflect an abundance of caution, a more economically challenged patient population that finds it tougher to follow post-operative care instructions or simply better record-keeping.

The risk-adjusted Medicare formula is designed to take a large number of pre-existing conditions into account. But James Saucedo, lead author of a Northwestern University study that found that inconsistent record-keeping is often a factor in such data, told the Inquirer that busy urban hospitals may not have time to record all comorbidities. One result, he said, is that "institutions [that] we would expect to be among the best [are] going to look terrible."

However, Lisa Suter, associate director of the Yale University program that developed the Medicare analysis, says the numbers accurately reflect patient populations by "aggregating results over many, many patients at each hospital" and that they give "a very important sense of how sick that hospital's patients are."

Jim Burger


Also in the News...

The Top 10 Health Technology Hazards
ASC Administrator Claims Docs Forced Her Out After She Investigated Claims of Sexual Harassment Against Them
FDA Recommends Black Box Warning for Power Morcellators
California Pain Doc Settles Fraudulent Billing Charges for $1.2M
Alabama Hospital Files Suit to Halt Construction of Competitor's ASC
Doris Parker, RN, Returns Today to Her Native Liberia to Help Curb Ebola
Participation High in Medicare's ASC Quality Reporting

 
Have an account? Please log in:
Email Address:
  Remember my login on this computer

DID YOU SEE THIS?
Sharps and Sharps Safety

These Safety Sharps are Color-Coded

Other Articles That May Interest You

Are Some Total Knees Totally Unneeded?

Knee Surgery May Not Be Helping Older Patients

Ortho's Dynamic Dozen

12 innovations that make procedures safer and more efficient.