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press

Statewide Report Introduces Quality Composite Score to Compare Performance of Medical Groups and Clinics

FOR RELEASE: September 16, 2020
REVISED:  September 25, 2020

Contact: Leslie Bennett
Phone: (206) 454-2961
Email: lbennett@wahealthalliance.org

STATEWIDE REPORT INTRODUCES QUALITY COMPOSITE SCORE
TO COMPARE PERFORMANCE OF MEDICAL GROUPS AND CLINICS
The Washington Health Alliance releases the latest Community Checkup report,
analyzing health care for 4 million Washington residents.

SEATTLE, WA – The Washington Health Alliance (Alliance) issues its 14th Community Checkup report today with results for 1,978 clinics, 327 medical groups, 106 hospitals, 16 health plans, 39 counties, and all nine Accountable Communities of Health on more than 100 performance measures. In addition, for the first time, the Alliance is using its new Quality Composite Score to compare the performance of clinics and medical groups across the state.

Performance is based on up to 29 Community Checkup measures commonly considered to be indicators of strong primary care. These measures are grouped into domains that are combined and weighted to produce a single score that is used for comparison purposes. The domains include prevention and screening, chronic disease care, coordinated care, and appropriate (evidence-based) cost-effective care. On these measures, the following represent the highest-performing medical groups in the state (an * indicates more than 50% of patients are Medicaid-insured). 1

Commercially-insured Medicaid-insured
The Polyclinic International Community Health Services*
Virginia Mason Medical Center Northwest Physicians Network
Kaiser Permanente Washington Kaiser Permanente Washington
University of Washington Medical Center Swedish Medical Group
Association of University Physicians, DBA UW Physicians Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic*

 

“The many medical groups whose performance on these measures is at or above the state average deserve recognition,” says Executive Director Nancy Giunto, “but it’s important to note that this ranking is not exhaustive of all aspects of care quality, nor is it inclusive of all providers across the state. It is, however, an important indicator of overall performance on important measures of primary care for the state’s largest medical groups.”

For many measures, Washington state’s results are compared with the national 90th percentile performance with the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) dataset published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), one of the nation’s most widely used health care tools for measuring health plan performance. Alliance members have set statewide performance at the 90th percentile as their goal. Unfortunately, Washington state continues to show performance below the national average on most of the HEDIS measures; for the commercially-insured, 86% of Washington’s measure results fell below the national 50th percentile and for the Medicaid-insured, it was 85%.

Barbe West, Executive Director of the Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health says, “Looking at Washington’s performance compared to the national HEDIS benchmarks is disappointing and serves as a reminder of the challenges we need to address in order to provide care in the top ten percent nationally. Data is a critical component of the work of the Accountable Communities of Health and resources like the Alliance and the Community Checkup keep us on track to identify and make the improvements we need across the state.”

The report includes a look at the wide variation in the average rate of adolescent well-care visits for the Medicaid-insured. While the overall statewide average of 37% is well below the national 90th percentile of 68%, which Alliance members seek to reach, some providers in Washington state highlighted in this section are meeting and exceeding that rate. There is also a special feature to assist health insurance purchasers and their members in using the Community Checkup for health care decision-making. The Alliance’s Community Checkup website now provides six years of publicly available results that are searchable in many ways:

  • by provider type, such as clinic, medical group, or hospital;
  • by categories of care, such as diabetes, pregnancy, and surgery; and
  • by individual measures including generic prescriptions, colon cancer screening, and hospital readmission rates.

“There is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on all sectors of the health care system, from providers on the front lines to consumers navigating a new world of health care concerns and care options, its effects will likely ripple for years to come,” says Alliance Executive Director Giunto, “Now more than ever we need transparency and unbiased information to shine a bright light on opportunities to improve the delivery of health care in our state. To create a better and more affordable system for the people of Washington state, we must continue to analyze variations in care quality, seek to understand what drives those differences, and work together to eliminate unnecessary and unwarranted variation.”

1 These results reflect calculations revised on September 24, 2020.