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Study: Quality lags at safety-net hospitals

HealthDay/Washington Post, May 14, 2008

The quality of care at "safety-net" hospitals that treat poor and underserved patients is lagging well behind hospitals that do not serve these patients, according to a study. The safety net hospitals rely on state and federal funding from Medicaid and other sources, and do not have the money to improve the quality of care at the same rate that better-funded hospitals do. In the study, researchers examined data collected between 2004 and 2006 from 3,665 safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals. They found that hospitals that cater to a low percentage of Medicaid patients had significantly more improvement in quality compared with safety-net hospitals.