Jan Emerson-Shea, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association, was asked about the data's usefulness, given the fact that nearly all of the 119 hospitals were shown as not being statistically different. Previous reports showed hospital quality in charts with their place on a bar, showing whether and how far they were above or below state average.
"OSHPD consistently produces hospital quality reports that are thorough and reliable for consumers, based on a very strict use of a statistical model," she replied. "We support their efforts to continue to refine these reports to make them as useful as possible. What is important is that the data be scientifically valid and easy to understand for the public. The feedback that OSHPD has received over the years is that the bar graph has created confusion, so they have decided to modify the report accordingly."
For the readmissions segment of the report, Parker explained, the committee included a readmission for anything that could be reasonably related to the regrafting procedure, including infections, bleeding, or a heart attack.
The report also said that of the 11,823 patients discharged after CABG surgery in 2009, 1,565 (13.2%) experienced a hospital readmission within 30 days. Rates of readmission also varied widely, from 0% to 29.77%.
Parker said that the report's findings in the category of 30-day readmissions "were relatively reassuring. There was fear that there might be some hospitals where patients were coming back with vey high rates, but we only found one that was statistically significantly high."