AHA renews call, sees results from national initiative

Hospital participation is more than 760

The Chicago-based American Hospital Association (AHA) recently renewed its call for hospitals to participate in a national voluntary initiative, devoted to "developing a common framework for measuring hospital care quality and disclosing that information to the public."

The advisory updated member hospitals on "The Quality Initiative: A Public Resource on Hospital Performance," launched in December 2002 with the support of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the National Quality Forum, the American Association of Retired Persons, and the AFL-CIO.

The project started by asking hospitals to voluntarily report the results of their performance on 10 quality measures for three medical conditions, but later will incorporate results from a patient perception of care survey instrument and add new quality measures.

Hospital participation in The Quality Initiative has exceeded 760, as of press time, according to the AHA. In addition to the hospitals that have signed and returned pledge forms to the AHA, many more have agreed to participate through a pilot project in several states.

These hospitals will report data on their care of three conditions — heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. Performance data will be posted to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services web site for clinical use as early as this summer and to the Medicare web site for public use as early as the summer of 2004.

"We are delighted with this strong immediate response," says Nancy Foster, AHA senior associate director of health policy. "The hospitals’ overwhelming support for the initiative demonstrates their commitment to making meaningful information on the quality of care available to the public," she adds.

(For more information on The Quality Initiative: A Public Resource on Hospital Performance, go to: www.aha.org.)