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Florida health officials have launched a Web site aimed at showing the public how well hospitals take care of their patients. The site has so much traffic that it is showing a busy sign for many who attempt to visit. But, the St. Pete Times article concerning the site tells us some of what can be found there. The site can be found at www.floridacomparecare.gov.

Excerpts from the article:

State Web site examines hospitals’ rates of problems
By JUSTIN GEORGE
Published November 9, 2005

The site allows consumers to see which hospitals have higher than average rates for such things as infections, complications, bedsores and sepsis.

A recent state law called for the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration to compile the information. The site shows, for instance, that patients at five hospitals in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties had a “higher than expected” rate of developing bedsores in 2004. It shows that patients at two area hospitals – Mease Hospital Countryside in Safety Harbor and Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey – had a higher than average rate of postoperative hip fractures. It shows that Brooksville Regional Hospital ranked second in the state for having the most postoperative sepsis cases, which are serious infections in the bloodstream.

Infections acquired at hospitals kill more than 80,000 Americans annually. Consumer advocates want to make infection rates public to give patients more information and give hospitals an incentive to prevent more infections, which can be caused by unsanitary conditions.

But Tampa General Hospital chief medical officer Tom Danzi said the numbers don’t paint an accurate depiction of hospitals’ performance.

Patients at Tampa General Hospital had a higher than expected likelihood of developing IV or catheter infections, collapsed lungs possibly due to medical treatment or surgery, and postoperative blood clots in the arteries or lungs, according to the Web site.

Danzi said the state health agency fails to show the different factors that could cause the numbers to swing one way or another. Tampa General, for instance, is Tampa Bay’s only Level 1 trauma, burn and adult transplant center.

“These people are at greater risk for infection,” he said, adding that the hospital’s six different organ transplant programs can unfairly make Tampa General seem more dangerous when compared to other hospitals’ mortality rates, where transplants aren’t performed.

Additionally, what the state calls “serious” IV and catheter infections aren’t major, he said. Even though Tampa General ranks higher than many hospitals when it comes to developing infections, 99.14 percent of patients did not develop them.

“These are not serious infections, and they have no impact on the outcome of care,” he said. “These are not life-threatening infections.”

Other studies show that Tampa General ranks in the top 10 percent nationally when it comes to caring for patients who suffer acute heart attacks and heart failure, he said.

ON THE WEB
www.floridacomparecare.gov