Monday, November 16, 2009

Aiming Higher for Excellence in Healthcare

Every two years, The Commonwealth Fund provides their State Scorecard, ranking all states according to 38 common benchmarks such as access to care, quality of care, costs, and health outcomes.

In 2009, Iowa tied with Hawaii for second place, the highest ranking for a state in the upper Midwest. This was also our ranking in the 2007 scorecard. The following is what is known as the Top Quartile.

1. Vermont
2. Hawaii/Iowa
4. Minnesota
5. Maine/New Hampshire
7. Massachusetts
8. Connecticut
9. North Dakota
10. Wisconsin
11. Rhode Island
12. South Dakota
13. Nebraska

“Leading states consistently outperform lagging states across indicators and dimensions; public policy and public-private collaboration can make a difference.”

“Some states in the Upper Midwest (e.g. Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) achieve high quality at lower costs. Although these states are exceptions to the rule, they provide examples for other states to follow in pursuit of both goals.”

Interestingly enough, many of these states (Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) provide some of the highest quality care at a lower cost. I’ve been beating the drum for years about the inequities in the Medicare reimbursement system. These states are setting the example for the rest of the nation in healthcare reform. There are wide geographical disparities in payment and if it holds, there is a provision in the recently passed House (H.R. 3200) that will call for review for rural healthcare providers to modify our reimbursement structure.

Hopefully, the term “tweener hospital” will be a thing of the past someday. What the future holds for healthcare and specifically for hospitals, remains to be seen.

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