Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance > About PHCQA > FAQ

About PHCQA:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is participating in the PHCQA?

A: Alliance participants include the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP) which represents more than 225 hospitals and health systems across the state, the state’s four Blue Cross plans (Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Capital BlueCross, Highmark Inc., and Independence Blue Cross), the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council (DVHC) of HAP, the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania (HCWP), and the Pennsylvania Medical Society.

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Q: What is special or unique about the PHCQA website?

A: The PHCQA website compiles selected outcome and quality data from the federal Medicare program (CMS), the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Joint Commission for Pennsylvania’s general acute care hospitals in a single location designed to help patients and consumers make better health care choices.

Q: What quality information is available on the website?

A: Visitors to the site can see hospital quality and outcome data in four broad clinical categories: heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and prevention of surgical infections. There are also measures which assess patient’s experiences in the hospital and the scores which show how often patients receive all the evidence-based care they should receive based on their clinical condition. Within each category, users can generate reports on how a hospital scores on specific actions that contribute to better clinical outcomes, for example, seeing how many heart attack patients received aspirin within 24 hours of their arrival at the hospital. The site also allows users to compare hospitals to one another and hospital performance over time.

Q: Where does PHCQA get its information on hospital performance?

A: The data come from publicly available data sets that hospitals already report to government and accrediting bodies, such as CMS, the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Joint Commission (the national hospital-accrediting agency).

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Q: How does the PHCQA differ from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4)?

A: The Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance is a voluntary coalition of Pennsylvania health care organizations, including hospitals, physicians and health insurers, assembled to develop a common standardized approach to health care quality measurement. We are an independent nonprofit organization, privately funded by our participating organizations with no direct financial support from the state or federal government. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council is an independent state agency formed under Pennsylvania statute (Act 89, as amended by Act 14) in order to address rapidly growing health care costs. PHC4 is also tasked with: 1) collecting, analyzing, and making available to the public, data about the cost and quality of health care in Pennsylvania; 2) studying, upon request, the issue of access to care for those Pennsylvanians who are uninsured; 3) reviewing and making recommendations about proposed or existing mandated health insurance benefits upon request of the legislative or executive branches of the Commonwealth.

Q: How will this initiative coordinate with existing quality improvement programs at the state and federal level?

A: The PHCQA is not designed to replace or supplant existing state and federal quality and safety data requirements, but rather to work together to develop a common understanding of the data and measures that providers are already required to report in Pennsylvania.

Q: How does the PHCQA site relate to other quality reporting sites, such as The Leapfrog Group or HealthGrades?

A: Many other websites provide a wide range of hospital and health care quality data. While these websites do provide state-specific data, PHCQA’s website focuses exclusively on Pennsylvania, and is the only site that represents a collaborative effort among the state’s hospitals, insurers, doctors, and regulators to create a consistent and uniform approach to measuring quality. The site is entirely free of any charge to all users.

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Q: How are PHCQA participants supporting this effort?

A: PHCQA represents the collaborative efforts of Pennsylvania’s hospitals, insurers, the PA Medical Society, and government regulators and policy makers. Collectively, they are committed to improving quality and safety, and empowering the public to make informed health care decisions. PHCQA participants are supporting this effort by their contributions of time and funding to PHCQA’s work, and by promoting the availability of the website to their patients, subscribers, and community members.

Q: Who can I contact for more information?

A: Erik Muther, Managing Director of PHCQA, at or (215) 575-3748

About PHCQA: