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Physician Citizenship Tied to Mortality Rates

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 5, 2010

The study was supported by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.

"Patients of foreign citizens who were international medical graduates had a 16% reduction in mortality compared to U.S. citizens who went abroad for their medical education," Norcini said in an interview.

The report discovered two other important quality distinctions. Mortality rates were said to be significantly lower for patients whose doctors had more recently undergone their training, regardless of where they went to medical school. Severity-associated death rates also were lower for patients whose doctors were board-certified.

Also, board certification and more recent graduation from medical school were associated with shorter patient hospital stays.

"Holding all other variables constant, increasing years since medical school graduation was significantly associated with longer stays, while treatment by a cardiologist or physician holding a specialty board certificate was significantly associated with shorter stays," Norcini and colleagues wrote.

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