Skip Navigation

Do hospitals that treat sicker patients have worse death rates in Hospital Compare ratings?


Hospitals that treat sicker patients do not necessarily have higher death rates.  All rates have been adjusted to account for differences in patient’s health status before they were hospitalized.  Sicker patient’s who have more health problems may be more at risk to die than healthier patients.  Sicker people may also need more specialized care, which may not be available at all hospitals.     

It is important to take into account these issues before any ratings are posted.  A complex statistical model is used to calculate the risk-adjustment rate which “levels the playing field” by accounting for health risks which are present before the patient actually enters the hospital.

Last Updated: 4/29/2008