Discussion paper

DP17365 Is Hospital Quality Predictive of Pandemic Deaths? Evidence from US Counties

In the large literature on the spatial-level correlates of COVID-19, the association between quality of hospital care and outcomes has received little attention to date. To examine whether county-level mortality is correlated with measures of hospital performance, we assess daily cumulative deaths and pre-crisis measures of hospital quality, accounting for state fixed-effects and potential confounders. As a measure of quality, we use the pre-pandemic adjusted five-year penalty rates for excess 30-day readmissions following pneumonia admissions for the hospitals accessible to county residents based on ambulance travel patterns. Our adjustment corrects for socio-economic status and down-weighs observations based on small samples. We find that a one-standard-deviation increase in the quality of local hospitals is associated with a 2% lower death rate (relative to the mean of 20 deaths per 10,000 people) one and a half years after the first recorded death.

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Citation

Kunz, J and C Propper (eds) (2022), “DP17365 Is Hospital Quality Predictive of Pandemic Deaths? Evidence from US Counties”, CEPR Press Discussion Paper No. 17365. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17365