29 Jun 2011

Study finds higher mortality in hospitals in US Pacific territories

7:35 pm on 29 June 2011

A study has found patients treated at hospitals in the United States territories have higher death rates and worse health outcomes than those treated in the US states.

A study, published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, looked at the nearly five million people who live in U.S. territories, which include Guam, the CNMI and American Samoa.

Megan Whelan has more.

"The researchers looked at outcomes and death rates for Medicare fee-for-service patients with heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia over a nearly three year period. Compared to the mainland hospitals, territorial hospitals had about two additional deaths for every 100 heart attack patients, one for every 100 heart failure patient, and three additional deaths for every 100 pneumonia patients. The study says marked disparities in core measures demonstrate lower quality care for patients in the territories across the board. It says any comprehensive effort to tackle racial or ethnic health care disparities must include improvements in the territories, and the US has a responsibility to guarantee that health care in the islands is the same as in the US states."