Hospital-Level Variation in Mortality and Rehospitalization for Medicare Beneficiaries With Acute Ischemic Stroke


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Abstract

Background and Purpose—Stroke is the second leading cause of hospital admission among older adults in the United States. However, little is known regarding contemporary ischemic stroke mortality and rehospitalization rates for Medicare beneficiaries and how they vary by hospital.Methods—We analyzed outcome data from 91 134 Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries treated at 625 Get With The Guidelines–Stroke hospitals between April 2003 and December 2006. Within each hospital, 30-day and 1-year death or all-cause readmission rates were calculated with and without risk adjustment.Results—In this cohort, mean age was 79.3 years, 58% were female, and 82% were white. In-hospital, 30-day, and 1-year unadjusted mortality from admission were 6.1%, 14.1%, and 31.1%, respectively, for participating hospitals. The median hospital-level 30-day unadjusted death or readmission rate after discharge was 21.4% (10th to 90th 14.4% to 28.6%). The overall rate of death or rehospitalization within 1 year of hospital discharge was 61.9%. Risk-adjusted rates varied widely by hospital at each time point. There were no improvements in death or rehospitalization from 2003 to 2006. Hospital-level performance in risk-adjusted outcomes did not significantly differ by size or primary stroke center designation, but academic hospitals and those in the Northeast or West had slightly more favorable outcomes.Conclusions—Nearly two thirds of the Medicare beneficiaries discharged after ischemic stroke died or were rehospitalized within 1 year, but hospital-level outcomes varied considerably. These findings underscore the need to better understand the patterns and causes of deaths and readmission after ischemic stroke and to develop strategies aimed at avoiding those that are preventable.

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