Fierce Healthcare writes of a Wall Street Journal report that critical access hospitals (CAHs) have significantly increased the number of elective surgeries they perform due to financial incentives from Medicare. But the 30-day mortality rate for major, commonly performed orthopedic surgeries including joint replacement was 34 percent higher for CAHs than for other hospitals, the newspaper analysis found. After adjusting for varying patient health conditions, ages and other factors, the 30-day mortality rate for inpatient joint replacements was about 9 per 1,000 at CAHs in 2013, compared with about 5 per 1,000 at general hospitals, the WSJ reported. The number of inpatient joint-replacement surgeries covered by Medicare in 2013 soared by 42.6 percent at critical access hospitals compared with 2008, according to the article–“far outpacing the growth of those services at general hospitals.”
Mortality Rates Rise as Critical Access Hospitals Perform More Inpatient Surgeries
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