Older men fare better in VA hospitals for overall mortality, worse for readmissions

In a comparison of outcomes data between Veterans Affairs hospitals and non-VA hospitals, researchers found older men hospitalized in VA hospitals fare better for 30-day all-cause mortality, but worse for 30-day readmission rates, than those treated in non-VA hospitals. The research is published in JAMA.

The authors note the absolute differences between the outcomes were small, but for a cohort of 7,900 older men, those treated in VA hospitals with pneumonia, heart failure and heart attack were less likely to die within 30 days of discharge, although they were more likely to be readmitted within that window.

"The authors focus on a narrow set of questions: How does the VA compare with the rest of the healthcare system on care for a common set of medical conditions?" Ashish Jha, MD, of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, wrote in an editorial accompanying the research. "These findings are important because they suggest that despite all of the challenges that VA hospitals have faced, they are still able to deliver high-quality care for some of the sickest, most complicated patients. In addition, although there are large variations in outcomes among VA hospitals, on average, the system seems to be performing reasonably well."

More articles on quality: 

Rural vs. urban: A comparison of hospital costs and charges 
Screening pain patients improves safety, but decreases likelihood of successful treatment 
AMA, MGMA to host inaugural conference on the patient experience 

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