Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions that have been
asked about the Maryland Hospital Performance Evaluation
Guide. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please
contact us directly by selecting “We want to hear from
you” at the bottom of the home page.
Q1: The Hospital Guide contains
a great deal of data. What are the sources of information
used in this guide?
A: The information comes from several
- Information on the number of patients
treated for a medical condition, how long they stayed in
the hospital, and how many of them were readmitted to the
hospital for the same condition comes from the Maryland
Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) and from
Washington, D.C. hospitals.
- Hospital profile information, such as
licensed bed counts and neonatal intensive care unit levels,
comes from the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC).
- Information on quality measures and
services offered comes directly from the hospitals.
- Information on patient readmissions
and transfers from Maryland hospitals to healthcare facilities
in the District of Columbia comes from Washington, D.C.
Q2: Is the information presented
A: Only recent information sources are
used for this guide. Different information becomes available
at different times from the various sources we use. The information
presented here is updated at least every six months.
Q3: Can an individual patient
A: All data sources are confidential and
do NOT include the names or any personal details that would
allow an individual to be identified in any way.
Q4: Why aren't all medical conditions
included in the guide?
A: Because we cannot provide information
on every illness at this time, we chose some very common
medical conditions that affect many Marylanders. By using
conditions that occur more frequently, we are able to provide
useful information about, and comparisons of, as many hospitals
Q5: Why are some rates reported
A: Rates were not calculated for any quality
measure having 20 or fewer cases because not enough data
was available to be statistically accurate. Therefore, the
rates for these quality measures are not reported.
Q6: What does it really mean if a hospital is labeled "" or "" on
its readmission rates?
A: Readmission means that a patient returns
to the hospital within 15 days for the same medical condition
(or for an infection). Readmission might indicate a problem
with the patient’s medical treatment. So a lower readmission
rate is one indication of higher quality of treatment at
a hospital. A rating of "" means
that a hospital has readmission rates higher than 90 percent
of all hospitals in Maryland. A rating of "" means
that a hospital has readmission rates lower than 80 percent
of all state hospitals, or no readmissions at all. Readmission
rates vary widely in the state, meaning that the quality
of care among hospitals can differ significantly. For a description
of how readmission rates are calculated, select Technical
Information on the sidebar and look in the “Utilization” section,
or click here to select Technical
Q7: Since hospital readmission
rates are compared to other hospitals in Maryland, will
at least one hospital be labeled "" or "",
even if overall quality is excellent?
A: This is correct. The ratings are always
relative to all other hospitals in Maryland and not against
some absolute standard.
Q8: Many report cards contain
information on mortality or death rate. Why doesn’t
the Hospital Guide contain this information?
A: The Maryland Hospital Guide does
not contain data on death rates because of problems with ensuring
that this information truly reflects the care provided at a
hospital. A hospital may have a higher death rate because,
on average, the hospital treats more seriously ill patients.
It may also specialize in care for diseases that have lower
survival rates. Computer programs are being developed that
attempt to calculate a death rate while considering the types
of patients a hospital treats. As this information becomes
more reliable, Maryland will continue to consider reporting
on death rates.