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According to the annual Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare report, Ingham Regional Medical Center (IRMC) in Lansing, Michigan has an above-average heart failure mortality rate for patients receiving Medicare assistance. While the national rate is just over 11% for these patients, Ingham Regional’s heart failure death rate is 13.6%. The hospital is disputing the figures, claiming their internal tracking numbers differ significantly. The Hospital Compare report covers a three-year period and includes outcomes up to 30 days after a hospital admission.

The news is a blow to IRMC’s portrayal of itself as a leader in regional cardiac care. In addition, the hospital also faces stiff competition from Sparrow Heath System’s renewed focus on heart-related services. Sparrow’s heart failure death rate has improved and is now within the “acceptable” range, but it remains above the 11.3% national average.

While it seems shocking that Mid-Michigan’s two biggest (and most heavily-advertised) hospitals have sub-standard mortality rates, many highly regarded hospitals nationwide face the same issue. Objective data such as that contained in the Hospital Compare report are challenging the public’s notion of what makes a “good” hospital. Patient satisfaction and favorable outcomes would seem to go hand-in-hand, but the recent report suggests that this is not always the case.

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