A new scorecard that compares quality, access, avoidable hospitalizations and costs on a state-by-state basis shows a wide chasm between the top performers and those that rate near or at the bottom.
The State Scorecard on Health System Performance was released today in Washington. The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System said that the variability across the states comes with a substantial human and economic cost. According to the commission, if all states could do as well as the top states, then 90,000 lives could be saved annually, saving Medicare some $22 billion over the course of a year and leaving enough funding left over to ensure that 22 million adults and children would have health insurance coverage.
The scorecard also shows that states which do well on access to careparticularly coveragewere also more likely to do better on quality of care.
Alan Weil, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy and a commission member, noted the correlation. Health system performance is tied to how the system (delivers) care for the most vulnerable populations, he said.
Indeed, the scorecard found that four of the five states with the best access-to-care rankings are also among the highest on quality of care. States with low quality rankings tend to have higher rates of uninsured residents, according to the report.
Carolyn Clancy, director of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, lauded the report, saying that it illustrates areas of improvement that can be worked on immediately. But she warned that data gathering and quality improvement still have a long way to go, saying that its not yet hardwired in healthcare.
Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine led the rankings. -- by Matthew DoBias