MEDICARE: Editorial Raises Questions About State’s Low Ranking
A Bakersfield Californian editorial questions why the quality of care for California Medicare beneficiaries ranked among the lowest in the nation in a recent HCFA study. "If there is a lesson in a study showing that medical care for California's 2.4 million seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare is among the worst in the nation, it is that more study is needed," the editorial says. The study -- which examined quality outcomes for conditions such as pneumonia, diabetes, and breast cancer -- ranked California 41st overall and "below the median in more than 50% of all medical categories studied." The editorial says, "The key issue, of course, is why," but adds, "Without the answer to the whys, it is impossible to suggest reforms with any confidence that they will work." Some of the questions that the editorial raises include:
- Why is California "distinctly different" from its western states, all of which, (with the exception of Texas) were in the top half of outcomes?
- What is the effect of immigration? Texas and California share similar immigration rates and outcomes statistics, but Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada also contain a large immigrant populations and still ranked higher.
- "Are outcomes for traditional and Medicare managed care really similar?"
- Do "individual state scope-of-practice rules, certification standards, continuing education requirements" and other policies play a role in the state's ranking?
- Is "the impact of managed care among working adults" adversely affecting Medicare?