Alliance Issues 13th Community Checkup Report
If it is true what they say, that “data get better with use,” then we are truly fortunate here in Washington. The latest edition of the Washington Health Alliance’s Community Checkup report is our biggest ever with results on more than 110 performance measures for 1,978 clinics, 376 medical groups, 123 hospitals, 16 health plans, 39 counties and all nine Accountable Communities of Health measures for four million people for calendar year 2018. There is something for everyone in this release, as the Community Checkup will be useful to individuals and purchasers to locate high quality health care and health plans and providers to track and compare their performance to others.
What is most exciting is that with this edition, the Alliance now has five years of publicly-accessible data on our website at WACommunityCheckup.org. That means you can search all of those measures any way that you want. By going to the Scores page and selecting a county, for example, you can see how it compares to the state average on all measures or just the those you’re interested in, such as access to care, behavioral health, cardiovascular disease, potentially avoidable care, preventive health, etc., You can also drill down and see all or individual results for each Accountable Community of Health, clinic, health plan, hospital, or medical group here.
And while this report includes all of the usual features, a comparison of Washington state’s performance to HEDIS benchmarks, variation in performance on preventive care measures, medical group rankings, and state health care spending, we also take a close look into preventive care variation with a deep dive and into one type of care that has seen little improvement over the years: colorectal cancer screening.
Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths behind lung cancer in Washington state and across the country, that’s the bad news. But the good news is that if diagnosed early, many of those deaths can be prevented. Currently, it is recommended that average-risk men and women aged 50 to 75 have a colonoscopy every 10 years, a flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years, or use a stool-based test, such as a fecal immunochemical test (FIT), FIT-DNA, or fecal occult blood test (FOBT) every year. As you read further, first consider how you approach preventive care for colorectal screening for yourself, your family members, or for your employees and then, take a look at the preventive care chart to see the wide variation in various screening rates across the state and check out your care location.
This Community Checkup shows that Washington state’s average colon screening rate for the commercially-insured for 2018 is 58%. That’s not too far off from the National Center for Quality Assurance’s national screening average of 60.3% for PPOs and 64.1% for HMOs, but we have a lot of ground to cover to reach the 74% screening rate performed by those at the national 90th percentile for performance. That’s not true for everyone, though. One Washington provider stands out from the rest, Overlake Internal Medicine Associates, with an 81% colon screening rate for the commercially-insured.
Family Physician and Senior Investigator at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Dr. Beverly Green has been studying colorectal cancer screening rates for more than 20 years and says one tactic has been proven to dramatically increase those screening rates and it’s pretty simple: mail FIT kits to patients. “What’s exciting is that with increased screening, you actually see the rate of colorectal cancer and associated deaths go down.”
Check out other ways we can increase colorectal screening rates in Washington here. For the online Community Checkup see here or check out this printable pdf that contains a special section on using the website.
And if you’d like to share your feedback on this edition of the Community Checkup or any of the Alliance’s other reports, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you!
All the best,
Nancy A. Giunto
Published: May 5, 2020