Thursday, July 28, 2005

Here's an interesting story based on this data. This study looked at MI, pneumonia, and CHF, which generally have well-understood treatments with well-documented mechanisms and goals of treatment. In the words of Dr. Ashish K. Jha, the study's lead researcher and an assistant professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health "These are all really relatively simple things."

And yet, according to the LA Times, "hospitals serving the Inland Empire overall ranked worst in the country last year in their treatment of patients with heart attacks and pneumonia, according to a new study," and "care provided by the Inland Empire market ranked 34th among the 40 largest hospital markets in the nation [for CHF]." "[hospitals in] the San Diego area ranked in the bottom five for their treatment of congestive heart failure and pneumonia, and [hospital care in] Los Angeles was next to last for its pneumonia care.No region in the state ranked among the top five in treating any of the three medical conditions studied."

I might comment on this later, but, for now, there's a major clue as to the problem in the quote of Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Assn. of Southern California. According to Mr. Lott, '"These people are trained the same places everybody else is trained,' (Mr. Lott) said, referring to the medical staffs." Uh, no. California doctors tend to be Californians, and tend to have been trained in California. That's one of the reasons people pick a residency program, particularly if they plan to go into private practice ... because it's in the area, or at least the state, in which they plan to practice. In other words, the people responsible for this poor showing are likely to have trained in California, and particularly likely to have trained at the University of California (since the U. of California is the 800 pound gorilla of academic medicine in California).

As per the other posts further down this page, I invite you to draw your own conclusions.

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