04 Dec Veterans Health Study Asks if Socioeconomic Status Changes Mortality Rates
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amal Trivedi, MD, MPH
Professor of Health Services, Policy & Practice
Director of Graduate Studies, Health Services Research
Brown University School of Public Health
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Nearly all hospitals in the United States, including all Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMCs), report mortality rates for patients hospitalized for common medical and surgical conditions. But these mortality rates do not adjust for socioeconomic factors that are associated with worse outcomes following hospitalization.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Veterans Affairs Medical Centers’ mortality rates were highly correlated in models that included and did not include socioeconomic factors, and few Medical Centers’ risk-adjusted mortality rates would be substantially changed after adjustment for socioeconomic status.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our study indicates that, at least in the case of hospital mortality measures for heart failure and pneumonia, adjusting for socioeconomic factors did not yield substantial changes in adjusted mortality rates for VA hospitals.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Our study demonstrates the feasibility of including socioeconomic factors in risk-adjustment models to gauge the impact of these adjustments on assessments of hospital performance. The implications of such adjustments should be examined for other quality measures and health systems.
Response: The study was funded by the VA’s Health Services Research and Development Service.
Trivedi AN, Jiang L, Silva G, et al. Evaluation of Changes in Veterans Affairs Medical Centers’ Mortality Rates After Risk Adjustment for Socioeconomic Status. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(12):e2024345. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.24345
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