State healthcare scorecard finds disparities and gaps in access, quality, avoidable hospitalization and cost

Commonwealth Fund state-by-state analysis finds nationwide ceclines in coverage and rising costs

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.

According to the Commonwealth Fund Press Release, 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.

According to the scroecard, there are substantial opportunities to improve and if all states could reach the level achieved by the top performing states:

Twenty-nine million more people would have health insurance—cutting the number of uninsured by more than half; 

Nearly 78,000 fewer adults and children would die prematurely every year from conditions that could have been prevented with timely and effective health care;

Nine million more adults age 50 and older would receive recommended preventive care, and almost 800,000 more children would receive key vaccinations; 

Five billion dollars could be saved annually by avoiding preventable hospital admissions and readmissions for vulnerable elderly and disabled residents.

Click here  for the Commonwealth Fund report.

(SOURCES: Advisory Board Daily Briefing, http://advisory.com, October 8, 2009; The Commonwealth Fund, http://commonwealthfund.org, accessed October 23, 2009)