The results are in, and states' healthcare systems received mixed performance reviews in a new Commonwealth Fund scorecard.
The scorecard assessed states on 42 indicators of access to healthcare, quality, costs and outcomes from 2007 through 2012, excluding implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The scorecard produced some good news, some bad news and also indicated areas of stagnation.
We've rounded up a few key findings below:
1. The good
Most states saw improvement on indicators of immunizations for children, patient-centered care in hospitals and safe prescribing of medications for the elderly, all of which sit high on the list of state-level and national concerns.
"Illustrating the potential for more widespread progress, the majority of states improved on a selected set of indicators that had been the focus of both national and state attention as well as local system action," said Cathy Schoen, senior vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, reported MedPage Today.
Fifteen states experienced lower premature mortality rates--most notably, cancer-related deaths--suggesting an upward trend that quality of care contributes to better health outcomes.
2. The bad
During the five-year span, healthcare spending rose $491 billion and reached $2.8 trillion nationally, according to government estimates. The study also finds decreased access to preventive care for adults.
What's more, in 42 states, a greater number of adults reported going without healthcare coverage because of costly prices--a trend possibly linked to the Great Recession, notes the study.
3. The stagnant
Most states saw no improvement or decline for two-thirds of the 34 indicators studied. Such indicators include hospital 30-day mortality and adults with a usual source of care.
Even top-performing states like Massachusetts did not perform consistently well across all indicators. However, opportunities for states to enhance health coverage will arise, especially through Medicaid expansion.
"The Affordable Care Act has the potential to level the playing field as all states have the opportunity to make substantial improvements to their healthcare systems if they take full advantage of the vision of the law, including Medicaid expansion," Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D., said on a conference call.
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