Better Medicare ratings don't mean fewer deaths

In using quality ratings, patients and health purchasers may feel they're getting some assurance that they can predict the outcome of their care. Well, in this case, apparently they can't--at least not yet. According to new research, there seems to be little difference in hospital death rates for three common conditions (heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia) regardless of how the hospitals rank on Medicare hospital performance measures. The study, by the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine, found that the absolute reduction in risk-adjusted death rates between 25th-percentile hospitals versus 75th-percentile hospitals was only 0.005 for inpatient death, 0.006 for 30-day death and 0.012 for death at one year. Not surprisingly, the researchers have suggested that the measures might be flawed.

To get more information on the study:
- read this article from United Press International