Magazine article USA TODAY

Increased Mortality Following Discharge

Magazine article USA TODAY

Increased Mortality Following Discharge

Article excerpt

A reduction by health insurance carriers in the number of treatment days covered in medical rehabilitation hospitals by nearly 40% during the past decade did not diminish treatment effectiveness, a study has found. However, the analysis revealed a disturbing trend: Patients were not living as long after discharge.

Researchers studied records of 148,897 patients treated in 744 inpatient medical rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. between 1994 and 2001. They found that deaths between discharge and a six-month follow-up increased from less than one percent in 1994 to 4.7% in 2001.

Carl V. Granger, professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in the University at Buffalo (N.Y.) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author on the research, maintains the increase in mortality was unexpected and needs to be monitored.

"There have been dramatic changes throughout health care over the past decade, and all the factors affected by these changes are not included in the databases we examined," cautions Granger, emphasizing that this analysis includes data from rehabilitation hospitals only, because they routinely perform follow-up assessments after discharge. …

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