New HAC link from CMS’ Hospital Compare website launched

Medicare and Medicaid

New HAC link from CMS’ Hospital Compare website launched Medicare patients can now see important data about eight hospital acquired conditions (HACs) in America’s hospitals through a link from CMS’ Hospital Compare website. Since 2005, Hospital Compare has been providing information about the quality of care in over 4,700 acute-care, critical access, and children’s hospitals in America — with over one million hits per month.

CMS has gathered HAC rates from hospitals since 2007, and since 2008 has not provided additional reimbursement for cases in which one of the HACs was reported as having developed through the course of a patient’s hospital stay.

The eight HACs to be reported include: (1) foreign object retained after surgery, (2) air embolism, (3) blood incompatibility, (4) pressure ulcer stages III and IV, (5) falls and trauma, (6) vascular catheter-associated infection, (7) catheter-associated urinary tract infection, and (8) manifestations of poor glycemic control.

The most common HAC reported was injury from a fall or some other type of trauma, which occurred in one out of every 2,000 discharges. Over 70 percent of hospitals reported at least one fall or trauma during the reporting period. About 45 percent of hospitals reported at least one blood or urinary tract infection during a hospital stay. HAC rates were lowest for instances of blood incompatibility, which was reported by less than 1 percent of hospitals and occurred once for every one million discharges.

CMS plans to work with the members of the Hospital Quality Alliance — a national private-public partnership of hospital, consumer, provider, employer, payer, and government agencies — and consumers, later this year, on folding HAC data directly into the Hospital Compare framework. For now, however, the HAC data is available only through a downloadable file linked to the Hospital Compare website.

In addition to information about HACs, Hospital Compare reports: (1) 25 inpatient and 5 outpatient process of care measures, (2) readmission and mortality rates for certain conditions, (3) three children’s asthma care measures, (4) 10 measures that capture patient satisfaction with hospital care, (5) information about the volume of certain hospital procedures performed, (6) conditions treated for Medicare patients, and (7) what Medicare pays for those services.

In October 2011, CMS plans to have new information about serious complications and deaths on the Hospital Compare website.

The Hospital Compare website can be accessed at www.HealthCare.gov/compare.

CMS Press Release and Medicare Fact Sheet, April 6, 2011

For more information on this and related topics, consult the CCH® Medicare and Medicaid Guide.

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