Healthcare Business News

Hospital mortality rates still improving: HealthGrades

By Jean DerGurahian
Posted: October 13, 2009 - 3:00 pm ET

Mortality rates continue to improve, but quality gaps persist in hospitals, according to the latest HealthGrades study.

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In its 12th annual Hospital Quality in America Study, the quality rating organization found in-hospital, risk-adjusted mortality improved on average 10.99% from 2006 to 2008. Still, mortality rates varied across regions, with hospitals in the East North Central area of the county—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin—experiencing the lowest mortality, according to the report. Hospitals in the East South Central region—Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee—had the highest mortality rates.

More than half, 57% of potentially preventable deaths were related to four diagnoses: sepsis, pneumonia, heart failure and respiratory failure, HealthGrades said in its report. That represents a slight increase over last year, when those four accounted for 54% of preventable deaths.

HealthGrades examined nearly 40 million Medicare records as well as state data from 2006, 2007 and 2008 and applied its scoring methodology to determine hospital results.

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