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Medicare Beneficiaries Treated At Hospitals Ranked Highest On Quality 71% Less Likely To Die

Armen Hareyan's picture

Medicare beneficiaries who receive care in the highest-ranked U.S.hospitals are 71% less likely to die than those who receive care in thelowest-ranked facilities, according to the 10th annual Hospital Qualityin America Study released on Monday by HealthGrades, HealthDay/Washington Postreports. For the study, researchers examined the medical records of 41million Medicare beneficiaries who received care in 5,000 hospitalsbetween 2004 and 2006.

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According to the study, overallmortality rates at the hospitals decreased by 11.8% from 2004 to 2006.Mortality rates at the highest-ranked hospitals decreased by 12.8%,compared with an 11.4% decline at the lowest-ranked hospitals. Had allhospitals performed at same level as the highest-ranked facilities,possibly 266,604 fewer Medicare beneficiaries would have died duringthe study period, the authors said.

Among the 18 medicalprocedures and conditions examined, the study found the largestdecrease in mortality rates for pancreatitis at 19.2%, followed bypulmonary embolism at 17.4% and diabetic acidosis and coma at 16.6%.The study found the smallest decrease in mortality rates forresection/replacement of the abdominal aorta at 0.4%, followed bycoronary procedures at 0.8% and heart attack treatments at 8.9%.

Studyco-author Samantha Collier, chief medical officer at HealthGrades, in astatement said, "While we are pleased to see that the hospitalindustry's focus on improving care quality has continued to reducemortality rates, a significant variation in quality among the nation'sbest- and poorest-performing hospitals persists" (HealthDay/Washington Post, 10/15).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.