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New State Health Care Scorecard: Sharp Differences in Access, Quality, Avoidable Hospitalizations, and Cost Across U.S

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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 on October 8th. The states that led in the first state scorecard, released in 2007, generally continued to lead, often setting new benchmarks and widening the gap between leading and lagging states.

The report, Aiming Higher: Results from the 2009 State Scorecard on Health System Performance, ranks states on 38 indicators in the areas of access, prevention/treatment quality, avoidable hospital use and costs, healthy lives, and equity. In 2009, Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, and New Hampshire lead the nation as top performers on a majority of scorecard indicators.

Health insurance coverage for adults declined in a majority of states since the first state scorecard was released in 2007. The good news is that the majority of states made gains in children’s health coverage—a result of federal and state support for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). In addition, national efforts to publicly report performance and improve care have led to dramatic improvements in some measures of quality of care in hospitals and nursing homes, demonstrating the impact federal action and collaborative improvement efforts can have.

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