Study: Safety-Net Hospitals, Non-Safety-Net Hospitals See Similar Pediatric Quality Outcomes

The clinical condition of pediatric patients is more strongly linked to quality outcomes than is Medicaid burden at a hospital, according to a study in Pediatrics.

Researchers compared safety-net hospitals and non-safety-net hospitals to determine how quality outcomes for pediatric patients differ depending on the hospital's resources, defined as Medicaid burden. Quality outcomes were also studied in relation to the level of severity of pediatric patients' conditions and the presence of chronic conditions.

The researchers studied all non-newborn pediatric hospital discharge records that had at least one pediatric quality indicator event using the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's 2009 Nationwide Inpatient Sample and PDI.

Data showed that patients' severity of illness and presence of chronic conditions were strong predictors of pediatric quality indicator events, whereas the level of Medicaid burden did not predict quality outcomes.

The authors wrote that the data support the need for "robust risk adjustment when incentivizing quality or comparing hospitals."

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