Getting in on the angioplasty action

Until now, Massachusetts community hospitals have largely been shut out of the market for routine angioplasties, a fast growing, high-margin procedure. Now the Department of Public Health plans to let some community hospitals that already perform emergency angioplasties to perform routine ones as well. But they have to agree to participate in a five-year study to track mortality and complications. See More hospitals will get ok to offer angioplasties in the Boston Globe.

It’s good that permission is tied to outcomes, and I believe some well organized community hospitals will demonstrate high quality.

But why not take things a step further? Include the existing academic centers and relevant community hospitals in the study. At the end of five years, certify or re-certify only the top half of hospitals to perform the procedure, regardless of whether they are academic or community based. That kind of competition could spur real improvements for Massachusetts patients.

June 12, 2005

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