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Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Ceremonially Signs Four Health Care Bills That Will Reduce Costs, Improve Access and Quality
Date:7/1/2009

Health Care Cost Containment Council, or PHC4, which is broadly acknowledged as the nation's premier agency of its kind. The work of PHC4 is critical to the Rx for PA initiatives for tracing patient safety and health care quality outcomes, as well as the cost of hospital-acquired infections and avoidable mistakes. Health care purchasers, such as businesses and labor unions, use PHC4 data for plan design and cost and quality improvements. The agency had sunset last year without legislative reauthorization and was kept in operation through an executive order by Governor Rendell.

A study in the August 2008 American Journal of Medical Quality estimated that PHC4's public reporting process prevented 1,500 deaths in one year in just six disease and treatment categories. PHC4's own findings show improvements in hospital care over the past 12 years of public reporting have saved an estimated 49,000 lives and $1.7 billion in hospital charges. Since PHC4's public reporting of heart surgeries began, the mortality rate for heart bypass surgery in Pennsylvania has dropped 51.7 percent.

PHC4's first-in-the-U.S. public report quantified the cost and associated deaths from hospital-acquired infections, and resulted in Act 52 of 2007 which addressed infection prevention and reduction. After the first year of implementation of Act 52, the infection rate in Pennsylvania hospitals dropped 7.8 percent resulting in an estimated savings of $372 million.

SB 89 was sponsored by Sen. Patricia H. Vance (R) and a similar bill, HB 173, was sponsored in the House by Majority Leader Rep. Todd A. Eachus (D).

The Governor originally signed all four bills on June 10, 2009.

More information on the new Mini COBRA bill can be found at http://www.ins.state.pa.us/ins/cwp/view.asp?a=1274&Q=550035&PM=1 and informa
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor
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