Two Kinds of Hospitals – One Could Be Lifesaving
When you are in need of medical care, especially care for a serious condition, how do you choose your hospital? Most patients would answer that location is a primary factor, likely followed by whether or not the hospital specializes in the type of treatment needed. What’s less likely for a patient to consider, however, is whether or not the hospital is a teaching hospital.
While this latter factor may not seem pressing, data summarized by a recent article in The New York Times offers statistics suggesting that care at teaching hospitals is superior to care at non-teaching hospitals.
Patient Mortality Rates Lower at Teaching Hospitals
The patient mortality rate at teaching hospitals is significantly lower than is the mortality rate at non-teaching hospitals. To be sure, the Times’ article cited above states that for every 83 elderly patients treated at a teaching hospital, one more is alive 30 days post-release than would be had the patients been admitted to a non-teaching hospital. The study also found that even after adjusting for geographical factors (which can affect mortality rates), teaching hospitals had lower mortality rates for 11 out of 15 medical conditions, and five out of six major surgical conditions. It was unclear whether or not higher mortality rates were associated with acts of medical malpractice.
Precisely why teaching hospitals have lower mortality rates is not fully understood. The article suggests that it could have something to do with the fact that teaching hospitals attract better-trained doctors, or that medical technology is used more effectively. Because the hospital is a teaching hospital, it is possible that medical and hospital policies are more strictly followed.
So Why Don’t We Have More Teaching Hospitals?
If teaching hospitals are superior to traditional hospitals, why don’t more patients know this and use them? Only 26 percent of hospitals are teaching hospitals – why don’t more teaching hospitals exist?
The answer may be economically driven. Data shows that the standard teaching hospital is about 30 percent more expensive than a non-teaching hospital. These hospitals are more expensive in part because of the fact that they are associated with medical schools, which enhances their value and drives the price of care up, and in part because Medicaid pays more to assist with the educational objective.
Know As Much About The Quality of Care as Possible
When you need healthcare services from a hospital, knowing as much as you can about the quality of that care is beneficial, and could improve your overall outcome. Hospitals that have poor ratings, high rates of hospital-acquired infections, or have been named in large numbers of malpractice suits should be avoided. Further, depending upon the type of care you are seeking, weighing the benefits of a teaching hospital may be another consideration to add to the list.
At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our lawyers care about patients, and believe everyone has the right to high quality healthcare. If your rights to quality care have been breached and you are a victim of medical malpractice, contact our law offices for a free consultation, and information about how to file a medical malpractice suit.