U.S. Health Care System Gets Low Grade From Commonwealth Fund
The report, which was based mostly on data from 2007 to 2009, found that the federal health reform law would help improve scores in some of the categories, including access and affordability.
The report compared national averages against high-performing regions in the U.S. and other countries, based on 42 indicators of quality, access, efficiency, equity and healthy lives (Walker, MedPage Today, 10/18).
The Commonwealth Fund gave the U.S. health system a low score of 53 out of 100 for efficiency because of high rates of preventable readmissions and high administrative costs (McKinney, Modern Healthcare, 10/18). The report also found that:
- 25% of Medicare beneficiaries had a prescription for a "potentially inappropriate drug";
- About 33% of children ages 10 to 17 were overweight or obese;
- The average national infant mortality rate was about 35% higher than rates in top-performing states;
- About 40% of working-age adults in 2010 had problems paying medical bills or medical debt, up 6% from 2005;
- 44% of adults did not have a primary care provider in 2008 and only half of those said they received all recommended preventive care; and
- In 2003 and 2009, 20% of Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized for certain conditions or procedures were readmitted within 30 days (MedPage Today, 10/18).
"Although there are promising improvements on key indicators, quality of care remains uneven," according to the report (Fox, National Journal, 10/18).
The report found improvements in certain areas compared with previous years, such as:
- Increased public reporting of quality data;
- More hospitals following recommended protocols to prevent surgical complications;
- About 17% of adults smoked in 2010, compared with 21% in 2004; and
- More U.S. residents were controlling their high blood pressure (MedPage Today, 10/18).