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Monday, 12th October 2009

New State Health Care Scorecard Finds Wide Differences in Access, Quality, Avoidable Hospitalization and Cost Across States; Persistent, Growing Disparities Underscore Need for National Reform

New State Health Care Scorecard Finds Wide Differences in Access, Quality, Avoidable Hospitalization and Cost Across States; Persistent, Growing Disparities Underscore Need for National Reform
Source: Commonwealth Fund

The cost and quality of health care, as well as access to care and health outcomes, continue to vary widely among states, according to the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System's second state scorecard report released today. The states that led in the 2007 state scorecard generally continued to lead, often setting new benchmarks and widening the gap between leading and lagging states. Across states, health insurance coverage for adults declined, health care costs rose, and quality improved in areas where outcomes were reported to the public. According to the report, the continuing and growing disparities in state performance point to the urgent need for comprehensive national health system reform.

Health insurance coverage for adults declined in a majority of states since the first state scorecard was released in 2007. In contrast, the majority of states made gains in health coverage for children due to federal and state support for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition, national efforts to publicly report performance and improve care have led to dramatic improvements in some measures of quality of care in hospitals and nursing homes, demonstrating the impact federal action and collaborative improvement efforts can have on state health care systems, the report found.

The report, Aiming Higher: Results from the 2009 State Scorecard on Health System Performance, is a follow-up to the Commission's 2007 State Scorecard report; it ranks states on 38 indicators in the areas of access, prevention/treatment quality, avoidable hospital use and costs, healthy lives, and equity. In 2009, Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, and New Hampshire lead the nation as top performers on a majority of scorecard indicators. Leading states set new, higher benchmarks on a majority of indicators. Conversely, states in the lowest quartile often lag the leaders on multiple areas and the gaps have grown wider in multiple areas.

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