MONDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Certain groups of patients
treated at hospitals in U.S. territories have poorer outcomes and
higher death rates than those treated at hospitals in U.S. states,
according to a new study.
Nearly five million people live in U.S. territories, which
include Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana
Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to background
information in the study.
Researchers looked at outcomes and death rates for Medicare
fee-for-service patients with heart attack, heart failure or
pneumonia who were treated at 57 territorial hospitals and about
4,800 stateside hospitals between July 2005 and June 2008.
The territorial hospitals had worse performance in treating all
three conditions and had higher death rates. Compared to stateside
hospitals, territorial hospitals had about two additional deaths
for every 100 heart attack patients, one additional death for every
100 heart failure patients, and three additional deaths for every
100 pneumonia patients.
"Despite the national effort to address health-care disparities through increased public reporting and standardizing hospital performance, hospitals in the U.S. territories have been largely neglected," concluded Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith, of Yale University School of Medicine, and colleagues.
The study appears June 27 online in the journal
Archives of Internal Medicine.
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality offers
tips for choosing a hospital.