Study finds higher spending linked to better survival for some conditions

Hospitals that spend more money caring for patients with heart attack, heart failure, stroke, hip fracture, pneumonia and serious stomach bleeding had better patient survival, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Other key findings from the study:

  • Patients treated at the highest-spending hospitals for heart failure had a 25 percent smaller chance of dying while they were there than patients treated at lowest-spending hospitals
  • The highest-spending hospitals spent more than three times as much as the lowest-spenders. 
  • The association between hospital spending and inpatient mortality did not vary by region or hospital size 

The study does not identify the specific costly interventions that high-spending hospitals undertake to achieve this mortality benefit.

(Sources: Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, February 1, 2011; Reuters, http://www.reuters.com, January 31, 2011; The Archives of Internal Medicine, http://www.annals.org, February, 2011)