CA publishes hospital death rates

California has published a study of hospital death rates for eight common conditions and procedures, with initial results suggesting that most hospitals are falling into the middle when it comes to these outcomes.

To draw its conclusions, the state studied death rates for conditions like stroke and hip fractures, and treatments such as brain surgery, looking at mortality rates for 2007 and 2006. It found that for 2007, 25 hospitals had death rates that were much better than the state average on at least one indicator. Meanwhile, 94 hospitals were found to have a significantly worse performance in at least one area.

As usual with such studies, there have been some critical responses to the report from hospitals. For example, Torrance Memorial Medical Center has already come forward to complain about its worse-than-average mortality rating for gastrointestinal hemorrhage. The hospital said that its own review of the 40 deaths in 883 gastrointestinal hemorrhage cases drew a surprising conclusion--that 15 of the 40 patients didn't die at its facility. Torrance Memorial execs also claim that other patients listed as deceased are actually alive. (Now that, if true, is a bit of a flaw in a mortality study!)

To learn more about the study:
- read this Los Angeles Times piece

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