Vast info available
Luis Fábregas' column “We lack checkups of area's specialists” (Aug. 11 and TribLIVE.com) about the lack of doctor and hospital performance information in Pennsylvania left out important things that patients ought to know.
While the column made a valid point about the limited amount of data on doctors in some specialties, it neglected to mention the vast amount of information that is available to help consumers make informed medical decisions. In fact, Pennsylvanians have access to more information about their hospitals and doctors than most other Americans.
Notably, the story said that the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4) has not produced physician-specific reports consistently, but actually, PHC4 has issued cardiac reports on a regular basis since the mid-1990s. Those reports include information regarding mortality, length of hospital stays, readmissions for complications and infections, and case volumes for hospitals and cardiac surgeons.
Through omission, the column implies that there is little medical outcome data available in Pennsylvania. Here again, it ignores material offered by PHC4. Most especially, that includes performance reports on every hospital in the state, covering about 50 different conditions and treatments. All reports are readily available at the agency website, phc4.org.
While we continue our efforts to provide more transparent and useful information to Pennsylvania patients, we also want people to be aware of the help already out there.
The writer is executive director of the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.