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'Jaw-dropping': Medicare deaths reduced


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'Jaw-dropping': Medicare deaths, hospitalizations AND costs reduced

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/27/medicare-mortality-costs-study/30757669/

 

Mortality rates among Medicare patients fell 16% from 1999 to 2013. That’s equal to more than 300,000 fewer deaths a year in 2013 than in 1999, said cardiologist Harlan Krumholz, lead author of a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and a professor at the Yale School of Medicine.

 
“It’s a jaw-dropping finding,” Krumholz said. “We didn’t expect to see such a remarkable improvement over time.”
 
Researchers based the study on records from more than 68 million patients in Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 and older.
 
Researchers were able to find additional information about hospitalization rates and costs among Medicare’s traditional “fee-for-service” program, in which doctors and hospitals are paid for each procedure or visit. This information wasn’t available for people in the managed-care portion of Medicare, which had about 29% of patients in the overall Medicare program in 2013.
 
Among fee-for-service patients, hospitalization rates fell 24%, with more than 3 million fewer hospitalizations in 2013 than 1999, Krumholz said. When patients were admitted to the hospitals, they were 45% less likely to die during their stay; 24% less likely to die within a month of admission; and 22% less likely to die within a year, the study found.
 
Costs for hospitalized patients also fell by 15% among fee-for-service patients.
 
....
 
What’s gratifying is the cost savings don’t appear to have come at the expense of quality,” said Helen Burstin, chief scientific officer at the National Quality Forum, a non-partisan group that aims to improve the quality of health care.

Edited by trottigy
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