Healthcare Business News
Dr. John Santa, Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports releases ratings for Wis. doc practices

By Maureen McKinney
Posted: December 27, 2012 - 8:00 am ET

Consumer Reports has released quality ratings for 19 Wisconsin physician practices that treat nearly half the state's patients. The ratings, based on voluntarily submitted quality data, score medical groups based on seven metrics, including screening rates for several types of cancer, vaccination rates for pneumonia and heart disease care.

All 19 practices ranked above the national average on an overall score of quality, Consumer Reports said.

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According to a spokeswoman, nine more medical practices have signed on to submit data, although their ratings are not included in this latest report. But a large number of practices are still “lurking in the shadows,” she said.

"The good news in Wisconsin is that numerous physician groups have voluntarily shared their performance results, and many are outperforming the national average,” said Dr. John Santa, director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center, in an e-mailed news release. "Those groups should be commended. We have long urged physicians to report their data to the public. Only then will patients be able to make fully informed choices when choosing healthcare providers."

The ratings rely on process-of-care measures, such aspirin therapy prescribed for heart disease patients, as well as outcomes measures, such as the percentage of a medical group's patients whose blood pressure is under control.

This latest report is the third to focus on physician care in individual states. Consumer Reports released similar reports this summer, covering practices in Massachusetts and Minnesota.

The state ratings have been developed in collaboration with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, whose Aligning Forces for Quality initiative seeks to improve care in 16 U.S. communities. Ratings for doc practices in Massachusetts and Minnesota already have been released. The Wisconsin (Middleton) Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, which collects provider data for the Aligning Forces program, shared the information with Consumer Reports for these latest ratings.

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