BARSTOW A report released last week by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development reveals that Barstow Community Hospital fared significantly better in 2009 than the state average for patient deaths related to sudden strokes and pneumonia.

OSHPD uses data from 335 hospitals within the state in order to find out which perform better for certain medical conditions and procedures. The office takes into account patients who have pre-existing health problems in order to allow fair comparison between hospitals. OSHPD said in a statement that it uses inpatient mortality indicators such as deaths from heart attacks, strokes or hip fractures to improve the quality of patient care in California.

Barstow Community Hospital was among 35 hospitals within the state that scored better than the state average for two different health conditions in 2009. It scored in line with the average rating for hospitals throughout the state for four other conditions and did not qualify for rating for the six procedures that were studied by OSHPD because there were three or fewer procedures of that type performed throughout the year at the hospital.

All of the deaths from health conditions in 2008 were around the state average.

OSHPD Director Dr. David Carlisle said the mortality indicators would be a useful tool for hospitals and health agencies to improve the quality of care within hospitals.

"These indicators are an invaluable tool that allows county officials, health care providers and purchasers to assess the relative value of health care delivered to patients," said Carlisle in a statement. "Additionally, they can be used to encourage hospitals to promote quality improvements within their practice."

Barstow Community Hospital spokesman John Rader said Monday in a statement that the hospital was pleased with the results of the study and that the hospital supported transparency and consumer knowledge about Barstow Community Hospital's quality of care.

"Delivering quality patient care requires rigorous attention to ongoing improvement," said Rader. "Together with the physicians on our medical staff, we are constantly assessing and improving the care we provide and implementing better systems to protect our patients and to help them get well."

Risk-adjusted mortality rates in Barstow Community Hospital: (California averages in parentheses)

Heart attack
2008: 13.4% (7.5%)
2009: 7.1% (7.1%)

Congestive heart failure
2008: 3.1% (3.4%)
2009: 1.6% (3.3%)

Acute stroke
2008: 3% (10.6%)
2009: 0% (10.4%)

Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
2008: 3.7% (2.4%)
2009: 0% (2.3%)

Hip fracture
2008: 0% (2.7%)
2009: 0% (2.4%)

2008: 0% (4.8%)
2009: 0% (4.6%)

Information from Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development

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