June 26, 2008

California Releases 3rd Report on Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Californians hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) could more than double their chances of survival if they are treated at one of the top-rated hospitals, according to a newly released report from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), "Community Acquired Pneumonia: Hospital Outcomes in California, 2003-2005."

In this third report on CAP quality of care, the report provides statistical analysis on the outcomes of 208,000 adult pneumonia patients admitted to 354 California hospitals over the study's three-year period. While statewide about 12% of these patients died within 30 days of admission, patients at the "best" hospitals had an 8% death rate and patients at the "worst" hospitals had a 17% death rate.

"This report reinforces Governor Schwarzenegger's commitment towards making our healthcare system more transparent and improving consumer access to information on quality and performance," stated OSHPD Director Dr. David Carlisle. "The community-acquired pneumonia report will give healthcare consumers and purchasers the tools to assess the relative value of healthcare delivered to patients and promote quality improvement by hospitals."

Of the 354 hospitals that reported community acquired pneumonia cases, the majority, 259, were rated "as expected." Forty-eight (48) hospitals had death rates "better than expected," and 47 hospitals ranked "worse than expected."

The quality of hospital performance was assessed by comparing each hospital's risk-adjusted death rate for CAP patients with the statewide rate. Taking into account patients' severity of illness prior to admission allows fair comparison of each hospital's death rate with the statewide rate and with other hospitals.

All hospitals caring for CAP patients should implement "best practices" guidelines supported by the medical community. Hospitals with poor outcomes should review their clinical practices to identify and correct shortcomings.

Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, particles, or other objects and organisms. The report provides information on cases of pneumonia acquired in the community -- such as at home or work -- which resulted in hospital admission. The report does not assess the treatment of pneumonia acquired by patients in the hospital after surgery or other treatments.

As one of thirteen departments within California's Health and Human Services Agency, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) is committed to "Equitable Healthcare Accessibility for California." OSHPD analyzes and supports the state's healthcare infrastructure, promoting medical care transparency for Californians. OSHPD also supports a diverse and culturally competent workforce, ensures safety of buildings used to provide healthcare, insures loans to develop healthcare facilities, and facilitates development of a sustained capacity for communities to address their healthcare concerns.

The community acquired pneumonia report is available online at www.oshpd.ca.gov.