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Hospital death rates high in Georgia

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By Cade Fowler - bio | email

September 3, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Each year millions of Americans find themselves hospitalized. Many of them suffering from a heart attack, pneumonia, or heart disease. But how many of those patients actually survive? The answer is now available to the public.

"CMMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), some time ago, began collecting to provide data points for hospital and consumers," said Phoebe Putney Health Systems Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Hobson.

That data can found through Compare Hospital - a federal Web site that compares the death rates of patients admitted to U.S. Hospitals for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. Pneumonia mortality rates at Phoebe Putney and 7 other Georgia hospitals are worse than the National average.

Hobson says, "We've been working on that with our medical staff before that data even came out. Pneumonia was one that we were trying to address with changes in how we provide vaccinations to at risk patient populations upon admission and other initiatives to administer different antibiotics to those patients."

When compared with nearly 4,700 hospitals nationwide, Phoebe Putney's 30 day mortality rate from pneumonia was 16.9 %. The national average was 11.4%. Deaths from heart disease and heart attack were no different than the national average.

The percentages were calculated from Medicare data on patients discharged from hospitals between July 2006 and June 2007. The numbers however do not include data from people who do not have Medicare. 

But regardless of category, Phoebe says it will continue its work to improve on patient care.

"I would expect that as we move through time and those data points continue to be presented, you'll see us continue to move up into the right and improve on those particular metrics just as move through time. Our medical staff has been working hard on those kinds of things. And that's without having the benefit of some of the data," says Hobson.

To find out how others hospitals compared in Georgia and across the country, click on the link below.

  Hospital Compare

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