Medicolegal Issues

Hospital Quality Reporting Fails to Impact Death Rates


A study in the March issue of Health Affairs concludes that Hospital Compare, the government’s national hospital quality data reporting system, has produced no reductions in 30-day mortality rates for heart attacks and pneumonia, beyond what would be expected due to existing trends and ongoing innovations in care.1 The data were inconclusive on the impact of reporting on heart failure.

The survey covers Medicare claims data from 2000 to 2008. Its authors say it is one of the strongest studies yet, suggesting that Medicare’s public reporting has little or no impact on actual hospital quality—at least according to current metrics. The jury is still out on Medicare’s efforts to improve hospital quality of care with public reporting, with more study needed, according to lead author Andrew Ryan, MD, of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.


  1. Ryan AM, Nallamothu BK, Dimick JB. Medicare’s public reporting initiative on hospital quality had modest or no impact on mortality from three key conditions. Health Aff (Millwood). 2012;31(3):585-592.

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