Increased efforts are needed to improve care for Medicare beneficiaries, despite signs of progress, according to a report released by the Commonwealth Fund. Delivery of services targeted as national priorities, such as mammographies, heart-attack care and outpatient treatment of chronic conditions, has improved. But wide gaps exist in screening for colorectal cancer, treatment for depression and control of high blood pressure and cholesterol, in particular, the report found. Disparities in care also exist based on race and income. For example, 96 out of every 10,000 white patients developed a blood clot in their leg or lung following surgery; 164 out of every 10,000 black patients did so. And while 51% of Medicare patients defined as poor received flu vaccinations in 2001, 69% of those defined as high-income were vaccinated. Read the report. -- by Tony Fong
Medicare's quality grade -- still 'needs improvement'
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