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Health Aff (Millwood). 2012 Mar;31(3):585-92. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.0719.

Medicare's public reporting initiative on hospital quality had modest or no impact on mortality from three key conditions.

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  • 1Division of Outcomes and Effectiveness Research at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, NY, USA.


Hospital Compare, Medicare's public reporting initiative, began reporting measures of hospital quality for almost all US acute care hospitals in 2005. The impact of this public reporting initiative on patient mortality is unknown. We used Medicare claims data from the period 2000-08 to estimate the effect of Hospital Compare on thirty-day mortality for heart attack, heart failure, and pneumonia. Our analysis indicates that the fact that hospitals had to report quality data under Hospital Compare led to no reductions in mortality beyond existing trends for heart attack and pneumonia and led to a modest reduction in mortality for heart failure. We conclude that Medicare's public reporting initiative for hospitals has had a minimal impact on patient mortality.

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