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Health Affairs study finds no link between cost, quality of care

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Kaiser Network: Quality of care is not linked to the cost of care, according to a study published last week on the Web site of the journal Health Affairs, CQ HealthBeat reports.

For the study, researchers analyzed the health care bills of chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries in their last two years of life who received end-of-life care from 2,172 unidentified hospitals. The patients had one of three common conditions: heart attack, pneumonia or congestive heart failure.

The study looked at common quality indicators at a hospital-by-hospital level and researchers compared the data with some of the quality measures reported on the HHS Hospital Compare Web site. Findings from the study indicate no link — or even evidence against a link — between spending and the quality indicators.

An abstract of the study is available online:
Hospital Quality And Intensity Of Spending: Is There An Association?, Health Affairs, doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.28.4.w566 (Published online May 21, 2009).

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