Report: Healthcare varies widely by state

A new report underscores what policymakers have been yelling about over the past several years--that the health system in the U.S. is extremely inconsistent in the way it cares for citizens.

The report, by the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System, concludes that states vary substantially when it comes to cost, quality and citizen access to care. When ranked by these criteria, Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine and New Hampshire turned out to be the best performing states in the U.S.

Other states, meanwhile, stood out in the degree to which their health systems lagged behind. For example, in Nevada, 23 percent of Medicare beneficiaries returned to hospitals within 30 days of their last stay, compared with only 13 percent in Oregon.

Another example comes from Mississippi, where only one-third of adult diabetics received recommended screenings and treatment, compared to two-thirds in Minnesota.

To learn more about the study:
- read this Commonwealth Fund executive summary

Related Articles:
One in five Medicare patients readmitted to hospitals within 30 days
Study: Quality of U.S. healthcare lags despite high spending 
Study: U.S. chronically ill most likely to go without care