Mortality Amenable to Health Care in the United States: The Roles of Demographics and Health Systems Performance

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<p>Health care researchers use a statistic known as "mortality amenable to health care" (or "amenable mortality") to measure deaths from certain causes before age 75 that are potentially preventable with timely and effective health care. Amenable mortality rates can show an overall picture of a nation's health system performance. </p>
<p>In previous international studies, the U.S. has ranked low among other industrialized countries—falling to last place out of 19 nations in 2002–2003 and failing to keep up with the declining rates of amenable mortality seen in other countries. And, in The Commonwealth Fund's state scorecard, dramatic variations across states from a low of 63.9 deaths per 100,000 people under age 75 in Minnesota to a high of 158.3 in the District of Columbia have been demonstrated. </p>
<p>In a <a href="/publications/journal-article/2011/aug/mortality-amenable-health-care-united-states-roles">study published online</a> last week in the <em>Journal of Public Health Policy</em>, former Commonwealth Fund executive vice president Stephen Schoenbaum, M.D., and colleagues, Cathy Schoen, Jennifer Nicholson, and Joel Cantor, Sc.D., further examined amenable mortality in the United States. Schoenbaum and colleagues found associations between certain demographic factors—namely, poverty and race—and amenable mortality. In addition, after controlling for these factors, they found strong associations between amenable mortality and health system-related indicators, like hospital readmission rates and care for diabetics and asthmatics.</p>
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