Study: Spending on HF care may improve outcomes

Challenging the idea that lower-spending hospitals should serve as benchmarks for care, a recent analysis of heart failure (HF) mortality rates at six California teaching hospitals found that facilities that used more resources had the lowest mortality rates.

According to an articl in HealthLeadersMedia, the Dartmouth Atlas has become an Exhibit A of evidence that the system of providing healthcare in the U.S. is chaotic. It shows enormous variation in regional practice, Medicare spending, and utilization of healthcare resources in the last six months of life for 12 chronic illnesses, without any improvement in quality.  But this new, relatively low budget study by researchers at six teaching hospitals in California may have unveiled the Dartmouth study's Achilles' heel. These academic physicians found lower mortality among patients hospitalized at facilities that used more resources—such as days in the hospital and procedures—than those that used fewer resources.

Click here for the article in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, October 21, 2009; HeatlhLeadersMedia, http://healthleadersmedia.com, accessed October 23, 2009)