Background: US critical access hospitals play an integral role in rural healthcare. Accreditation may be helpful in assuring that these hospitals provide high-quality care. Objective: To determine whether quality measures used in the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare database differed for critical access hospitals based on Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations accreditation status. Research design: Cross-sectional with t-test statistics computed on weighted data to ascertain statistically significant differences (P ≤ 0.01). Main outcome measure: Differences between accredited and non-accredited rural critical access hospitals on quality care indicators related to acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical infection. Subjects US critical access hospitals. Results: The differences between accredited and non-accredited rural critical access hospitals for 4 out of 16 hospital quality indicators were statistically significant (P ≤ 0.01) and favored accredited hospitals. Also, accredited hospitals were more likely to rank in the top half of hospitals for 6 of the 16 quality measures. Conclusions: The results indicate that in the setting of critical access hospitals, external accreditation appears to result in modestly better performance.
- Critical access hospitals
- Disparities in hospital care
- Hospital accreditation and quality care
- Quality indicators
- US rural hospital care