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Study: CAH mortality rates lag behind

April 3, 2013

Mortality rates at critical access hospitals have increased relative to other hospitals, according to a study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducting a retrospective analysis of data for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries found that, while 30-day mortality rates for acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and pneumonia declined from 13% in 2002 to 11.4% in 2010 for non-CAH acute-care hospitals, they increased from 12.8% to 13.3% at CAHs. CAHs are small, rural hospitals with 25 or fewer beds. “The measures assessed in this study are not constructed in a way to give it an accurate representation of quality in small hospitals,” said AHA Vice President for Quality and Patient Safety Policy Nancy Foster. “We need more research that is specifically targeted to identifying care strategies that small, rural hospitals can adopt to improve outcomes for their patients.”