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Likelihood of Death Following Discharge Lower at Teaching Hospitals

A study conducted at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed a 1.5 lower risk of death in older adults following discharge from one of the 4,500 facilities considered a teaching hospital in the United States.  The study, conducted between 2012-2014, relied on data from 21 million Medicare hospitalizations and found that in the 7, 30 and 90 days following discharge from these hospitals, the rate of death was lower than after discharge from a non-teaching or community hospital.

 

While 1.5% might not seem like a huge difference, lead study author Dr. Laura Burke noted that it results in 58,000 fewer deaths a year and accounts for one life in every 84 patients being saved.

It is unclear why outcomes are better at teaching hospitals for that age range, although many speculate that it could be access to greater technology and resources than at community hospitals. As it stands now, treatment at a teaching hospital in our country is more expensive than at other facilities. Certain health plans have even restricted the ability of its members to receive treatment at a teaching hospital, due to the increased cost of care.

CMS Rating System Can Help Choose Best Hospital for You
As with nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) maintains a star rating system to help patients assess the overall quality of a facility they may potentially visit. The rating system evaluates 57 quality measures and assigns an overall rating of 1 to 5 stars (5 being the best) to each hospital that accepts Medicare.  To find out ratings of hospitals in your area, click here.