(HealthDay News) — Mortality rates are lower for older Americans treated by doctors trained in other countries than by those who went to a US medical school, according to research published online in The BMJ.

The study, led by Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, included information from more than 1.2 million Medicare patients aged 65 and older. All had been admitted to the hospital between 2011 and 2014.

The researchers found that the 30-day mortality rate was 11.2% for patients treated by foreign-trained doctors and 11.6% for those treated by US-trained doctors. There was no difference in hospital readmission rates. However, the cost of care was slightly higher for patients cared for by foreign-trained doctors ($1145 vs $1098).

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“Our findings should reassure policymakers and the public that our current approach to licensing international medical graduates in the United States is sufficiently rigorous to ensure high-quality care,” the authors write.

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  1. Tsugawa Y, Jena AB, Orav EJ, Jha AK. Quality of care delivered by general internists in US hospitals who graduated from foreign versus US medical schools: observational study. BMJ. 2 February 2017. doi: 10.1136/bmj.j273.