Thirty day mortality rates measure quality better than in-house mortality rates

Thirty day mortality rates may be a better quality indicator than in-hospital mortality rates, according to a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine. 

The study examined risk adjusted Medicare data for patients who had heart attacks, heart failure, or pneumonia and who were admitted to a hospital between 2004 and 2006.  The researchers found wide variation between in-hospital and 30-day mortality rates, and conclude that in-hospital mortality rates favor hospitals with shorter length of stays and transfer out rates. 

(Sources: Annals of Internal Medicine, http://www.annals.org/, January 2012, National Journal, http://www.nationaljournal.com, January 2, 2012; Kaiser Daily Health Policy Project, http://kaiserhealthnews.org, January 3, 2012)