Advisory Committee Recommends Improvements to The Center's Volume Statistics Program

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On Nov. 6, the Volume Statistics Advisory Committee met to review the program and discuss possible definition changes and enhancements.

On Nov. 6, the Volume Statistics Advisory Committee met to review the program and discuss possible definition changes and enhancements. The committee, composed of representatives from member hospitals who are familiar with the Volume Statistics Program and how it is used throughout their institutions, stressed that the monthly data collected through this proprietary tool is timely and provides a useful overview of the Northeast Ohio hospital market. It is imperative that any changes to the program, they agreed, should not impact the timeliness of the report, which was viewed as one of its most important benefits.

Several recommendations to improve the accuracy and relevancy of the Volume Statistics Program were discussed and resulted in a collective decision to make changes to several indicators.

Emergency Department Visits
As a result of the discussion, the Volume Statistics program definition of “emergency department visit” will change slightly to include scheduled visits to the emergency department, which were not included in the original definition but are becoming increasingly common. Additionally, “off-campus emergency department visits” will be split into two categories: off-campus visits in facilities open 24-hours/365 days a year and off-campus visits in facilities open less than 24 hours and/or 365 days a year. Urgent care centers will be excluded from these metrics. A new emergency department indicator, “admissions from off-campus emergency departments,” will also be added.

Patient Days
The Volume Statistics program definition for “patient days” for psychiatric and chemical dependency, physical rehabilitation, skilled nursing and all other short term stays has traditionally excluded any patient with an average length of stay of more than 30 days. The Advisory Committee recommended eliminating this clause from the definition and counting all patients, regardless of their length of stay.

Recommended Discharge Location
The Center collects monthly Volume Statistics data based on the Ohio Department of Health Categories of recommended discharge location. Given that ODH has recently changed its discharge codes, the Advisory Committee recommended updating The Center’s Volume Statistics program categories to coincide with these new changes.

Outpatient Surgeries
The “outpatient surgeries” definition, which currently includes the phrase “scheduled surgical cases on patients who do not stay in the hospital overnight,” will be modified slightly to not inadvertently exclude patients who have surgery late in the day and spend the night in recovery but who are not inpatients.

Staffed Beds
For regional advocacy purposes the Advisory Committee agreed to The Center’s recommendation of collecting “staffed beds.” Since this indicator varies by day, the committee recommended selecting a consistent day of the month, such as the fourth Friday, and reporting a “snapshot” of staffed beds for the region.

In the coming weeks, new hospital user agreements with the changed definitions will be distributed to each member hospital. The Volume Statistics Advisory Committee will continue to meet regularly to evaluate changes made to the indicators, make final decisions on yet-undecided potential changes and provide guidance to The Center on enhancing its Volume Statistics program.

For more information on The Center’s Volume Statistics program or to learn more about upcoming enhancements, contact George Jeney via email or at 216.255.3666 or Lisa Anderson via email or at 216.255.3660.

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The Center for Health Affairs is the leading advocate for Northeast Ohio hospitals, serving those organizations and others through a variety of advocacy and business management services. The Center also works to inform the public about issues that affect the delivery of health care. Formed by a visionary group of hospital leaders 96 years ago, The Center continues to operate on the principle that by working together hospitals can ensure the availability and accessibility of health care services. For more on The Center, go to http://www.chanet.org.

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Deanna Moore
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