The Hospital Report Card Act was recently passed by the Illinois General Assembly and sent to Governor Blagojevich on June 26. Assuming the governor approves this act within his allotted 60-day timeframe, it will go into effect January 1. All four Peoria-area hospitals, through their membership in the Illinois Hospital Association, participated in various discussions or meetings with IHA staff and/or legislators and their staffs to address the various components of the Hospital Report Card Act.
This act allows Illinois consumers access to information concerning hospital staffing and patient care outcomes. The Report Card Act calls for staffing and training information to be disclosed by the hospital upon the request of the consumer. In addition, nursing and nosocomial infection rate data will be reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for release to the public.
The Hospital Report Card Act (SB 59) was a bipartisan measure cosponsored by Senators Barack Obama (D-Chicago), Christine Radogno (R-LaGrange), and Representative Mary Flowers (D-Chicago). This legislation was backed by organized labor and consumer and business groups. The bill’s intent is to empower consumers by making quality information about hospitals available for the public.
The IHA’s Web site succinctly summarizes that under this act, Illinois consumers will have access to the following information:
- Unit staffing schedules.
- Nurse-patient assignment rosters.
- Hospital-specific methodologies to determine and adjust nurse staffing levels.
- Records of staff training.
- Nursing coverage, reported in standardized units.
- Select hospital-borne infections based on CDC definitions.
- Risk adjusted mortality data.
The Hospital Report Card Act is a landmark change for the State of Illinois. Under this bill, key stakeholders will be required to work together to design a data validity and accuracy protocol to assure compliance with this bill. The goal must be to provide data that accurately reflects the patient care outcomes in the fairest manner possible.
This legislation joins a growing national movement that promotes the sharing of hospital performance and quality information with the public. The issue is not whether quality data be shared, but rather what and how the data will be shared with our consumers. The continuing challenge will be creating an environment where we can exchange quality measures and partner with the public on the improvement of these outcome measures.
This is an exciting time in health care, with many new opportunities to create the best for those we serve. IBI