U.S. Health Care System Gets Low Grade From Commonwealth Fund
The U.S. health care system received an overall grade of 64 out of 100 for key measures of performance in a recent report by the 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 Commonwealth Fund gave the U.S. health system a low score of 53 out of 100 for efficiency.
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).
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).
And patients and consumers should get credit for the demand to increase public reporting.
The Mayo Clinic website is an amazing resource for patients. There are no financial conflicts of interest behind that information - rare indeed in what could be considered a health industrial complex.
The Health Manager might be something each patient should begin today - with all information under one "roof." While the industry has been slow to adopt accessible electronic records, it does not mean we need to be.