Group Releases Annual Hospital Quality Findings
Medicare beneficiaries who receive care in the highest-ranked U.S. hospitals are 71% less likely to die than those who receive care in the lowest-ranked facilities, according to the 10th annual Hospital Quality in America Study released on Monday by HealthGrades, HealthDay/Washington Post reports.
For the study, researchers examined the medical records of 41 million Medicare beneficiaries who received care in 5,000 hospitals between 2004 and 2006.
According to the study, overall mortality 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 all hospitals performed at same level as the highest-ranked facilities, possibly 266,604 fewer Medicare beneficiaries would have died during the study period, the authors said.
Among the 18 medical procedures and conditions examined, the study found the largest decrease in mortality rates for pancreatitis at 19.2%, followed by pulmonary embolism at 17.4% and diabetic acidosis and coma at 16.6%. The study found the smallest decrease in mortality rates for resection/replacement of the abdominal aorta at 0.4%, followed by coronary procedures at 0.8% and heart attack treatments at 8.9%.
Study co-author Samantha Collier, chief medical officer at HealthGrades, in a statement said, "While we are pleased to see that the hospital industry's focus on improving care quality has continued to reduce mortality rates, a significant variation in quality among the nation's best- and poorest-performing hospitals persists" (HealthDay/Washington Post, 10/15). The study is available online (.pdf).