VA Hospital Care:

A Comparison of VA and HCFA Methods for Analyzing Patient Outcomes

PEMD-88-29: Published: Jun 30, 1988. Publicly Released: Jul 11, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO compared the Veterans Administration's (VA) methodology for analyzing its hospitals' mortality rates with the approach the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) used to analyze the mortality rates of hospitals treating Medicare patients.

GAO found that VA modeled its approach after the method HCFA used in its 1987 analyses, although VA: (1) relied on its own internal data to obtain information about inpatient deaths; (2) modified the number of diagnostic categories in the analyses; (3) added four more risk factors for its regression analysis; (4) made adjustments for two variables which could mask some differences in quality of care across hospitals; (5) employed a simpler and more well-known system for setting confidence methods; and (6) planned validation efforts in conjunction with the initial development of its approach.

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