Massachusetts Hospital Mortality Rate Higher Than National Average
The overallmortality rate for
The analysis found wide variation in mortality rates among the 56 hospitalsanalyzed, with mortality ratios ranging from 65 to 119. The state average ratiowas 89.3 and the national average was 83.5, when the data are adjusted for awider range of patient and demographic characteristics.
Brian Jarmon, who developed the mortality ratio methodology, said that becauseof Massachusetts' low level of poverty and high number of medical specialists,"you would expect [the mortality rate] to be even better than the nationalaverage." He added that hospitals might have misreported data to Medicareor "it also could be that the care is not as good."
However, Karen Nelson, a nurse and senior vice president for clinical affairsfor the Massachusetts Hospital Association, said that the methodology used toconduct the analysis has not been validated by leading health quality groups asan accurate measure of hospital care. She added that the figures are of limitedvalue and do not show mortality rates for specific conditions or procedures.
Health Care for All last week planned to send a letter to statehealth officials demanding that they take action immediately to improve care athospitals with high mortality rates and that they publicly release mortalitydata for individual hospitals. The group also has asked health officials todetermine within the next three months the most reliable mortality measure, theGlobe reports (Kowalczyk, Boston Globe, 12/6).
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