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August 19th, 2009
Decade Long Government Led Effort Results in Reduced Heart Attacks

The August 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association details a decade-long government led effort to minimize the death rate of hospitalized heart attack patients as well as upgrade the hospital’s execution of these daily emergencies.

The report states that between the years of 1995 and 2006, the death rate for in-hospital medicare heart attack patients dropped from 14.6 percent to 10.1 percent, and the 30-day death rate in said conditions decreased from 18.9 percent to 16.1 percent.

The decade underwent major drug and technological progress used in the treatment of heart attacks.  In the opinion of study author Dr. Krumholz, professor of medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, the most significant factor in the general enhancement was the undertaking of what was then the Health Care Finance Administration and is now referred to as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  In addition, the standard heart attack hospital stay lowered by roughly 16 percent.

Krumholz believes that “What CMS did was critical … [it would not have] happened without a shift by Medicare in saying ‘We have to look at the entire group of hospitals’ … the whole idea of quality improvement was to find the bad apples … the pivotal point was Medicare saying ‘We’re not going to focus only on the outliers.’”

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