Hospital competition not linked to quality surgical outcomes   

There is no clear link between how much competition a hospital faces and surgical outcomes, according to a study published Aug. 2 in JAMA Surgery.

Researchers from the Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan analyzed Medicare Provider Analysis and Review files collected between 2015 and 2018. They focused on "beneficiary index admission for a procedure as well as any subsequent hospitalization," and compared the data with information on hospital characteristics culled from the Annual Survey of the American Hospital Association.

Across 10 high-risk procedures — including bariatric surgery, open aortic aneurysm, esophagectomy and hip and knee replacements — there was no consistent difference in monthlong mortality rates when comparing hospitals located in communities with a high level of competition versus a lower level of competition from other hospitals.

Thirty-day readmission trends also showed that competition does not play a measurable factor in surgical outcomes for five of the procedures studies. In fact, three of the surgeries — bariatric surgery, esophagectomy and pancreatectomy — showed no difference in outcomes.

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