More California hospital quality information now available to consumers

Hospitals Partner With Lumetra to Continue Improving Patient Care

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 2, 2005 -- Hospital data is becoming even more accessible for California consumers. Expanding on a national public reporting initiative that started in 2004, California hospitals are making available more information on the quality of care by adding data on the prevention of surgical infections. The consumer-oriented website will now reflect up to four quarters of data from 2004. The state's hospitals are also beginning a new phase of partnership with Lumetra, Medicare's Quality Improvement Organization for California. The goal of this partnership is to improve hospital care, making it safer, more effective and efficient so that every person gets the right care, every time.

Beginning today, three new hospital quality measures will accompany 17 existing publicly reported measures associated with heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. The new measures include one for pneumonia care and two measures for procedures that help prevent surgical infections, a new and significant category of hospital quality measure.

"Every person in California deserves to have quality health care, and to know how well their hospitals take care of them," said Jo Ellen Hylind Ross, Lumetra CEO & President. "We applaud California's hospitals that have already stepped up to the plate with their commitment to public reporting, but it's not enough to just report the data, we now have to transform the system. And by partnering with Lumetra, California hospitals can take advantage of our free resources and clinical expertise to ensure every person receives the right care at the right time," Ross added.

Ninety-eight percent of California's 343 Medicare-certified acute care hospitals are voluntarily participating in public reporting (336 hospitals).

All the measures are available for consumers by visiting or and selecting Compare Hospitals in Your Area, or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Either way, California residents get the information they need to help them make more informed healthcare decisions.

Over the next three years, Lumetra will work intensively with California hospitals to improve patient care for heart attacks, heart failure, and pneumonia, and prevent surgical complications. These efforts will involve preventing ventilator-associated pneumonia and surgery-related adverse cardiac events, as well as cutting the rate of surgical infections. The goal is to reduce surgical complications in these hospitals by 25%. Lumetra will work with hospitals to improve quality, safety, and to implement information technology to improve efficiency.

California hospitals partnering with Lumetra from April 2003 - 2004 showed overall improvements in the following measures to prevent surgical infections:

-- Appropriate antibiotic selection improved from 91.3% to 97.4%, an average improvement of 6.1 percentage points.

-- Administering prophylactic antibiotics within one hour prior to surgery improved from 73.8% to 84.3%, an average improvement of 10.5 percentage points.

-- Stopping prophylactic antibiotics 24 hours after surgery improved from 46% to 61.7%, an average improvement of 15.7 percentage points.

"The hospitals that are working with Lumetra on surgical infection prevention are showing improvements," Ross said. "It is a great example of how we are partnering to improve systems of care so that eventually every person who receives treatment at hospitals throughout California knows they are safe," she said.

Lumetra offers free expert resources to healthcare providers -- including hospitals, physicians' offices, health plans, nursing homes, and home health agencies -- to improve quality of care delivered to every person in California.

Lumetra is a San Francisco-based, independent, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality, safety, and integrity of healthcare for providers and consumers. Lumetra provides innovation services and solutions in the areas of medical review, quality improvement, data analysis, and fraud detection and prevention. Since 1984, Lumetra has been contracted by CMS to be the Medicare Quality Improvement Organization for California. For more information please visit Lumetra on the Web at

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