To the Editor: We recently read with concern the article by Scott and Ward on public reporting of hospital outcomes.1 While we do not want to enter into the debate about whether the public release of hospital performance reports is beneficial or harmful, we would like to address some issues relating to the accuracy of administrative data. The authors stated that “data are often [our italics] inaccurate, incomplete, or provide insufficient clinical detail” and that the “accuracy of diagnosis coding is vari-able”. They also mention the potential for “gaming” or “up-coding” by hospitals to make their institutions look better in public reports.
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