In our last post, we began speaking about the result of a recently published report concerning hospital mortality and readmission rates in Pennsylvania. As we noted, improvements were seen in many areas between 2009 and 2014 in terms of mortality rates.

The report also highlighted the fact that statistically significant differences were seen for in-hospital mortality rates across different areas of the state, with the biggest improvements being by hospitals in Southeastern Pennsylvania. In terms of readmission rates, significant improvements made in both western and southeastern Pennsylvania, but hospitals in the central and northeastern parts of the state did not make many improvements. 

It is important to note that the overall statewide improvement in mortality and readmission rates was attributed to improved quality of care, which highlights the fact that hospitals do have the ability to keep preventable fatalities in check. This isn’t to say, of course, that hospitals must perform flawlessly.

Sometimes readmissions and deaths happen in connection with medical or surgical care despite the best efforts of health care providers. That being said, hospitals and health care providers do have the duty to ensure they are providing medical care which meets accepted standards of care. Failure to do so will certainly have an impact on patient readmission and mortality.

When a patient dies as a result of substandard medical care, of course, it is important for the surviving family members to understand their options for recovery and to work with an experienced legal advocate in determining the best course of action.