Risk-adjusted rates are estimated for individual hospitals based on information taken from a particular time period. If a slightly different time period had been chosen, chances are that each hospital's results would have been somewhat different.
Users can compare the expected rate to the population rate reported in the Comparative Data document to determine how their case-mix compares to the reference population. The population rate refers to the overall rate for the reference population. The reference population is defined in the Comparative Data Document. If the population rate is higher than the expected rate, then the provider's case-mix is less severe than the reference population. If the population rate is lower than the expected rate, then the provider's case-mix is more severe than the reference population.
We use this difference between the population rate and the expected rate to "adjust" the observed rate to account for the difference between the case-mix of the reference population and the provider's case-mix. This is the provider's risk-adjusted rate.
If the provider has a less severe case-mix, then the adjustment is positive (population rate > expected rate) and the risk-adjusted rate is higher than the observed rate. If the provider has a more severe case-mix, then the adjustment is negative (population rate < expected rate) and the risk-adjusted rate is lower than the observed rate. The risk-adjusted rate is the rate the provider would have if it had the same case-mix as the reference population given the provider's actual performance.