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).