Washington Health Alliance’s Community Checkup Report Finds Thousands of People in State Fail to Receive Recommended Health Care

Third version of Washington State Common Measure Set shows quality of care varies dramatically across state

SEATTLE, December 7, 2017. Washington State has a long way to go if it is to achieve excellence in the delivery of health care. That’s the key finding of the third results for the Washington State Common Measure Set for Health Care Quality and Cost released today by the Washington Health Alliance (Alliance) and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA).  The results of the 56 measures in the Common Measure Set, which are foundational to the Alliance’s Community Checkup, show that thousands of Washingtonians are not receiving the care they would be receiving if the health care delivery system significantly improved its performance. For example*:

  • 93,000 more children would be receiving adolescent well care visits
  • 47,700 more women would be screened for cervical cancer
  • 6,500 more people would be taking their diabetes medication as directed
  • Nearly 140,000 unnecessary visits to the ER would have been avoided

“Too often the quality of care a patient receives depends upon the door he or she walks through,” said Nancy A. Giunto, executive director of the Alliance. “While many individual clinics perform well on select measures of quality, overall the quality of care in the state isn’t nearly as good as our reputation would allow. Thanks to the Community Checkup, we have a road map for the areas where we need improvement and where we have successes to celebrate.”

This version of the Community Checkup report is the eleventh since the Alliance released its inaugural report in 2008. The report includes results for approximately 300 medical groups and 1,000 clinic locations of four or more providers in the entire state of Washington, drawing upon a database of approximately four million lives. Many measure results are also available for health plans, counties, Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) and on a statewide basis, while other measures are reported only at the statewide level.

As a result of the Community Checkup’s robust reporting, Washington was one of just three states recently awarded an A in physician quality reporting by the non-profit Altarum’s Center for Payment Innovation.

The Common Measure Set is an important element in the state’s ambitious Healthier Washington initiative which strives to make the Triple Aim—better health, better care and lower cost—a reality in Washington. Funded by a grant from the federal government, Healthier Washington has a goal of transforming health care in Washington State so that people experience better health during their lives, consistently receive better health care when they need it and health care is more affordable and accessible.

“Transparency is a foundational element of improving our health care system, but data alone is not sufficient,” said HCA Acting Director Lou McDermott. “By bringing together all of the stakeholders—providers, plans, purchasers and consumers—we can use this information to drive the changes necessary to ensure all Washingtonians receive the care they need.”


About the Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington State’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 160 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance’s work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).


About Healthier Washington

Healthier Washington is transforming health care in Washington State so that people experience better health during their lives, receive better care when they need it, and care is more affordable and accessible. This work will improve the quality of life for everyone regardless of their income, education or background. The effort to transform Washington’s health care system is one of the largest efforts of its kind and guided by the principle that no one individual or organization alone can make it happen. Working together, we can achieve better health and better care at lower cost for Washington’s residents.


*Estimates based on the commercially and Medicaid insured lives in the Alliance’s database for this measurement period. Actual statewide numbers will be higher.


Media Contacts:

John Gallagher
Washington Health Alliance

Amy Blondin
Washington State Health Care Authority