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HealthGrades Hospital Quality Report: Improvement seen on Medicare mortality rates

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Modern Healthcare writes that mortality rates have declined among Medicare patients, but wide gaps in quality of care still exist across the country, according to a new HealthGrades report.

The in-hospital risk-adjusted mortality rate improved at a rate of nearly 14.2% from 2005 to 2007, but the degree to which care improved varied by procedure and diagnosis, according to the 11th annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America Study.

Hospitals in New England saw the most overall improvement across procedures and the risk-adjusted mortality rate in that region dropped by 18%. Hospitals in the Pacific region fared worst—risk-adjusted mortality fell 13% in that area, according to the report.

HealthGrades analyzed more than 41 million Medicare discharges from all hospitals from 2005 to 2007 using the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review database. Hospitals were assigned a quality rating based on calculated risk-adjusted mortality and complication rates. The quality rating organization also analyzed in-hospital mortality rates for more than 11 million Medicare discharges associated with 17 specific diagnoses and procedures, including heart failure, sepsis, pneumonia and respiratory failure. Those four conditions accounted for 54% of the potentially preventable deaths in the in-hospital mortality analysis.

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