Providence VA explains high mortality rate

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Providence VA says it had one of the higher mortality rates in data released this week as part of a nationwide look at the VA network because it did not identify hospice patients in its records.

Thirty-four patients at the Providence VA Medical Center died last quarter, which was the basis for the data. The VA said that of the 34, 20 people were terminally or seriously ill and needed hospice care when admitted.

Providence VA spokeswoman Leslie Pierson said Friday they did not use the code that would have excluded hospice patients when the mortality rate was calculated. It now uses it.

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed says while he's concerned, he believes staff at the Providence VA are rededicating themselves to ensuring they provide the best possible care.

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