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Nevada hospitals studied

RENO — Death rates at Nevada hospitals have improved in seven of eight categories, according to a study.

The annual HealthGrades Hospital Quality in America study found the state’s mortality rate of 6.86 percent is slightly higher than the national rate of 6.31 percent.

But the study shows mortality rates in Nevada improved from 2005 to 2007 in cardiac surgery, coronary interventional procedures, and gastrointestinal, heart attack, heart failure, pulmonary and stroke treatment. The rate in critical care decreased slightly.

Death rates in the state were better than the national average in heart failure, pulmonary and stroke, but worse in cardiac surgery, coronary interventional procedures, critical care, gastrointestinal and heart attack.

Todd Van Fossen, a consultant with HealthGrades, said the study demonstrates a difference in quality between hospitals.

“It’s a valuable tool to look at the quality of outcomes and to ask questions,” he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

The methodology is “risk adjusted,” Van Fossen said, so hospitals get credit for treating more difficult patients.

HealthGrades based its latest ratings on Medicare data from 2005-07.

Gary Aldax, spokesman for Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Reno, said the study gives consumers more information to make informed health decisions.

“What we would also recommend is that people look at data from different source sites. Each measures differently and tabulates differently,” he said.

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