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Statement by AARP Policy Director John Rother on the New National Voluntary Hospital Reporting System

AARP supports efforts to provide consumers with health care quality information, and we applaud the hard work that has gone into launching the new Voluntary Hospital Reporting Initiative. This new initiative will provide information on hospital performance that will help consumers and help hospitals focus their quality improvement efforts.

The ten measures being reported focus on how well care was delivered- whether the right test or treatment was given at the right time for specific conditions such as heart attacks and pneumonia. Such measures represent just the beginning of what consumers need to assess the full range of hospital services. It's equally important for consumers to know both the outcomes of care and consumers' satisfaction with the care and service provided to them.

AARP is very disappointed that the voluntary effort has not achieved a higher rate of participation. With only about 10 percent of all hospitals participating in this initial release of data, and none yet reporting on all of the initiative's ten quality measures, the value to consumers at this time is very limited. While it is encouraging that more hospitals will be reporting on more measures in upcoming releases, we believe every hospital should participate in this important effort. If voluntary efforts do not achieve full participation, then other steps will need to be taken to ensure that consumers have access to the comprehensive quality data they need and deserve.

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