ACEP Responds to HealthGrades Report; Cautions that Inpatient Mortality is Not an Emergency Department Measure

Jun 23, 2010, 19:30 ET from American College of Emergency Physicians

WASHINGTON, June 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report from HealthGrades analyzes mortality data from the records of Medicare patients who were admitted in hospitals across the United States, but is not a measure of emergency care, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

"Efforts to gather data on emergency medicine are critical, especially as the nation embarks on health care reform," said Dr. Angela Gardner, president of ACEP.  "This new report makes several critical points about the negative effects of delays in care and anticipated increases in emergency visits.  However, the mortality rates in this report are a measure of inpatient hospital care, not just emergency care."

Dr. Gardner also raised concerns about using the one measure of mortality data, which also could be biased against hospitals that treat the sickest patients.

"Less biased measures of emergency care would include the timely flow of patients, appropriate medical treatment per diagnosis and accuracy of diagnosis," said Dr. Gardner.  "While emergency physicians appreciate the objective of giving awards to emergency departments, it's important to base the awards on data related to emergency care."

The report's statement -- "This Emergency Medicine Excellence Award is intended as a proxy for the effectiveness of a hospital's multi-disciplinary teamwork and its ability to diagnose, triage and provide timely car to their patients."  -- is a more appropriate conclusion for the analysis.

ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies. 

SOURCE American College of Emergency Physicians