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A new report looking at hospital performance across the state showed that UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle had higher than average mortality rates in four of 16 studied medical conditions.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, or PHC4, released its 2018 Hospital Performance Report Thursday, evaluating the state’s acute care hospitals in 17 common treatment areas. The report looked at mortality rates in 16 of those categories and readmission rates in all 17, as well as volume of cases and hospital charges for patients who were discharged between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018.

Of the medical conditions studied in the report, data from UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle showed it had higher than average mortality rates in four areas: kidney failure-acute, pneumonia-infectious, sepsis and heart failure. The last two areas were also a struggle for Geisinger Holy Spirit, which reported higher mortality rates in only those two fields.

UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle also reported higher than average readmission rates for treatment of abnormal heartbeat.

“UPMC Pinnacle voluntarily participates in a number of quality and safety rating programs. We are committed to these programs and support the intent of quality and safety reports,” the health system said in a statement Thursday. “We continually monitor our performance on key indicators of quality to identify opportunities to implement and improve outcomes.

“UPMC Pinnacle is investing in people, processes, and technology that focus on delivering the highest quality patient care,” it added. “UPMC Pinnacle is implementing evidence-based processes throughout the seven-hospital system as part of continuous quality improvement initiatives and standardization of care.”

While UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle’s data showed problems with mortality and once with readmission, UPMC Pinnacle also reported success in some conditions at other hospitals.

The performance report also lists “UPMC Pinnacle Hospitals,” which includes UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg, UPMC Pinnacle West Shore and UPMC Pinnacle Community Osteopathic. That collection of hospitals reported lower than average readmission rates in three areas: sepsis, kidney failure-acute and heart failure.

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Geisinger Holy Spirit also reported lower than average readmission in respiratory failure, and Penn State Hershey Medical Center reported lower readmission rates in two categories, sepsis and respiratory failure; and lower than average mortality rates for one condition, heart failure.

Cost was also an area of study for PHC4, with most hospitals hovering in the same area of how much they charge. UPMC Pinnacle Hospitals had the lowest charges for every condition studied, while the other three area hospitals varied with who charged the most, depending on the treatment and condition.

While most of the prices for care were around the same costs, the biggest differences were seen in angioplasty/stent care for heart attacks and colorectal procedures. For heart attack care, which UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle does not provide, Hershey Medical Center charged the most at $99,067, while Geisinger Holy Spirit charged an average of $74,496 and UPMC Pinnacle Hospitals coming in far lower at $55,481.

For colorectal procedures, UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle charged the most with an average price tag of $102,229, compared to Hershey Medical Center’s $70,311, Geisinger Holy Spirit’s $70,192 and UPMC Pinnacle Hospitals’ $41,791. Though UPMC Pinnacle Carlisle did not have the highest costs in every condition studied, the hospital often had the fewest number of patients treated for those conditions, which could affect costs.

PHC4 said in its report that mortality rates and readmission rates statewide have decreased from 2013 to 2018 in many of the conditions studied.

According to the report, there was a “significant decrease” in mortality rates in 11 of the 16 conditions that were studied in this time frame. The largest decrease in mortality rates was in respiratory failure, which decreased from 14.7 percent in fiscal year 2013 to 8.3 percent in fiscal year 2018.

The report said no condition showed a “statistically significant increase” in in-hospital mortality rates during this time period.

For statewide 30-day readmission rates, there was a “significant decrease” in this time frame in 12 of the 17 conditions reported, with the largest reduction being in heart attack-medical management field. For that category, readmission rates decreased from 20.4 percent in 2013 to 16.7 percent in 2018. Again, the report said no condition showed a “statistically significant increase” in readmission rates during this time period.

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Email Naomi Creason at ncreason@cumberlink.com or follow her on Twitter @SentinelCreason

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