Health plans have stalled on quality improvement after a decade of gains, according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance's State of Health Care Quality 2009 report.
The slowdown comes after 10 years of improvement, said Margaret O'Kane, president of the NCQA, who called the results disappointing. “We can't afford to get this wrong,” she said during a news conference to announce the results.
The report studies quality data submitted by 979 health plans, covering 116 million patients. The data are based on the quality association's measures known as the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set, or HEDIS.
Overall, health plans are still not doing enough to monitor patients on antidepressants, follow up with patients hospitalized for mental illness, initiate treatment for alcohol and drug dependency or screen for cancer, according to the report. Plans fared better in ensuring patients received beta-blockers after a heart attack, treating asthma and smoking cessation.