High inpatient spending is linked to better patient outcomes, according to recent report.

A study in the Journal of Health Economics used ambulance referral patterns to examine treatment at different facilities and found that those treated at hospitals with greater amounts of care over three months after a medical emergency had better health outcomes than those treated at hospitals that provided less care.

Patients treated at hospitals that spend more on inpatient care than outpatient care also were more likely to survive one year after an emergency visit, the researchers found. (An abstract of the study is available online at http://bit.ly/2vb8k7y.)

“We discovered that downstream spending at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is a strong predictor of mortality,” the authors wrote. “Our results highlight SNF admissions as a quality measure to complement the commonly used measure of hospital readmissions and suggest that in the search for waste in the U.S. healthcare, post-acute SNF care is a prime candidate.”