A report from the National Committee for Quality Assurance found no significant link between health plans' spending patterns and the quality of care their members receive. In its annual State of Health Care Quality report (PDF), the NCQA analyzed data from 1,000 health plans covering 118 million Americans.
Spending, quality not linked, report says
Using that data, researchers assessed spending on five of the most costly chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and asthma. What they found, according to NCQA President Margaret O'Kane, was a high degree of variation among plans and no clear correlation between resource use and quality. The findings point to the need to push for a system that spends less but still delivers high-quality care, O'Kane said in a conference call.
The report also noted several recent quality-improvement successes including gains in colorectal cancer screening rates and continued use of beta blockers after heart attack. Some areas that still need improvement, according to the NCQA, are the overuse of imaging services and antibiotics, and fall prevention among Medicare patients.
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