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Disparities down in death after surgery.

Gaps in post-surgical mortality between blacks and whites have narrowed, but disparities still exist, researchers reported in June.

In a study published in Health Affairs, researchers found that postoperative mortality rates for a number of procedures have declined among black and white patients--0.1 percent and .07 percent per year, respectively--which has narrowed the disparity gap as well. The study is based on Medicare inpatient data for more than 6 million people ages 65 and older between 2005 and 2014. Over the study period, mortality rates for black patients improved more quickly than for white patients on six of the eight surgical procedures studied.

The study also found that certain hospitals, such as those in the U.S. Midwest and West and those that cared for fewer minority patients, improved their mortality rates more than others. Much of the positive gains for black patients were due to improvements within hospitals, rather than from patients switching to higher-quality hospitals.

"These findings are good news for policymakers interested in seeing reductions in disparities in mortality after major surgery, yet they also highlight the need to focus more on minority-serving hospitals," the study stated.

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Title Annotation:HEALTH FINDINGS: The latest public health studies and research
Author:Krisberg, Kim
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Sep 1, 2017
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