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Commonwealth Fund scorecard finds U.S. losing ground on healthcare

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The U.S. healthcare system barely achieved passing grades across more than three dozen quality indicators, on average reaching a score of 65 out of 100 in the Commonwealth Fund’s latest measure of healthcare quality, access and efficiency, reports Modern Healthcare.

Overall, performance did not improve from 2006, when the Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System released its first report, to 2008, and gaps in a number of different categories have only grown.

Of primary concern is a large dip in access to healthcare, which dropped to a score of 58 from 67 two years earlier. In 2007, more than 75 million Americans were either uninsured during the year or underinsured, the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance states.

But scores did increase for certain clinical measures, many of which have been in the field for years already and form the basis for several quality-reporting initiatives. Common treatments for diabetes and high blood pressure, for instance, also improved.

The National Scorecard includes 37 indicators in five different categories measuring health system performance, including healthy lives, quality, access, efficiency and equity. The U.S. average is compared with benchmarks from the top 10% of U.S. states, regions, health plans and hospitals. Overall, national scores declined for 41% of indicators, with about one-third, 35%, improved, and the rest did not change, the report states.

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