At Some Hospitals Death Rates are Rising

And Medicare is the only reason they exist. From Kaiser Health News:

For 15 years, Congress has bestowed special privileges to some small remote hospitals, usually in rural areas, to help them stay afloat. Medicare pays them more than it pays most hospitals and exempts them from financial pressure to operate efficiently and requirements to reveal how their patients fare. Nearly one in four hospitals qualifies for the program.

Despite these benefits, there’s new evidence that the quality of many of these hospitals may be deteriorating. A study published Tuesday found that during the past decade the death rates of patients at these critical access hospitals were growing while mortality rates at other hospitals were dropping.

Comments (11)

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  1. Sammy says:

    I think it is very important for the “public good” that there are these rural hospitals subsidized by the federal government. With that being said, it’s important that our money is being spent appropriately.

  2. Desai says:

    I would assume that the hospitals in rural areas have high mortality numbers because the patients who come see them are in very critical states. Because of transportation and access problems in rural areas, I would assume that one would go the hospital in the most dire of scenarios.

  3. Patel says:

    The difference in numbers can be due to may be the different groups of patient that go to these two different services. I am inclined to think that the patients going to crtical access hospitals are in very serious conditions.

  4. Kumar says:

    May these hospitals who qualify for these government aid on top of being in rural locations (where there is limited competition) are just not operating efficiently. No doubt lack of competition and monitoring, along with government funding, have left many of them “lazy.”

  5. Angelo says:

    This can undermine the importance of having remote hospitals in rural places that can’t afford to sustain a hospital on their own. Mortality rates are certainly higher in rural places, let’s do some research on this fact before bashing government trying to make health care more accessible in these areas.

  6. Mario Escobar says:

    I can see the need to have subsidized hospitals in some of these areas, however, perhaps there is oftentimes too much misallocation of funds and lack of proper regulation in these areas.

  7. Amber says:

    I wonder what the alternatives would be if the government stops funding these hospitals? Would private hospitals provide necessary and accessible care in these places where perhaps an opportunity of profit is not promising?

  8. John Selio says:

    How exactly does it make sense for these hospitals to be offering a poor-quality service when, unlike the other hospitals, they are receiving more money from Medicare?! There is absolutely no excuse for this to be happening.

  9. Carolyne Hubber says:

    Give hospitals incentives to not do well enough and quality for more financial “support” from insurers, and they will continue to do poorly, and take advantage of the financial reward. Give them NO incentive, and they will have to figure out a way to become more successful, on their own. Tough love?

  10. Sandeep says:

    There is also the possibility that these rural hospitals have less resources in both capital and human/ staff to deal with some of the critical conditions that go through the hospital.

  11. Gabriel Odom says:


    Additionally, the patient demographics served by critical-access hospitals are often older than at other hospitals. Young people have been fleeing the “country” for decades now. We are just now starting to see the effects. Many of these areas also have declining populations, as more people die off than are born.