Understanding the Safety Net: Inpatient Quality of Care Varies Based on How One Defines Safety-Net Hospitals

Understanding the Safety Net: Inpatient Quality of Care Varies Based on How One Defines Safety-Net Hospitals

According to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund, the quality of care at safety-net hospitals varies depending on the criteria used to identify such hospitals. Published in Medical Care Research and Review, the report, Understanding the Safety Net: Inpatient Quality of Care Varies Based on How One Defines Safety-Net Hospitals (executive summary, 2 pages, PDF), compared the performance scores of hospitals in three safety-net classifications: providing a high volume of uncompensated care, having a high percentage of Medicaid-insured patients, and being a public or teaching hospital. Among other things, the report found that only 2 percent of safety-net hospitals met all three criteria and that hospitals which provide more uncompensated care than other hospitals in the community outperform non-safety-net hospitals in caring for patients with pneumonia, prevention of surgical infection, and acute myocardial infarction and heart failure.