Wide Variation Reported in Washington State’s Health Care System

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Wide Variation Reported in Washington State’s Health Care System

The Washington Health Alliance releases the latest Community Checkup report,
analyzing health care for 4 million Washington residents.

SEATTLE, WA – The Washington Health Alliance issues its 13th Community Checkup report, bringing together results for 1,978 clinics, 376 medical groups, 123 hospitals, 16 health plans, and 39 counties, on more than 110 performance measures. Analyzing data for four million people for calendar year 2018, this Community Checkup:

  • compares Washington state’s health care to national benchmarks;
  • finds wide variation on important preventive care services;
  • examines one preventive screening test, colon cancer screening, with ways to improve it;
  • ranks medical group performance; and
  • reviews health care spending by Washington state.

With this release, the Alliance’s Community Checkup website now provides five years of searchable results for more than a hundred measures. “The Washington Health Alliance’s Community Checkup not only gives Washington state unvarnished information about the health care delivery system, it puts that information into the hands of the people getting the care, people giving the care, people paying for the care, and the people making decisions about health care policy,” says Dr. Marty Makary, Author, The Price We Pay: What Broke American Health Care and How to Fix It, and Surgical Oncologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In addition to ranking medical groups, the Community Checkup examines several critical preventive care and health screening measures, including well-child and adolescent visits, and breast, cervical, and chlamydia screenings and shows wide variation across the state. The rate of colon cancer screenings, for example, ranges from 81% (exceeding the national 90th percentile of 74%) to 23%. “There should not be anyone who dies of colorectal cancer in this country. If everyone was screened at appropriate intervals and in a timely way, we could eliminate, or, at a minimum, significantly reduce the number of deaths,” says Dr. Rick Ludwig, interim Chief Executive Officer at Pacific Medical Centers and Medical Director of the U.S. Family Health Plan at Pacific Medical Centers.

Several providers receive special acknowledgement in the Community Checkup for having been in the top five ranking every year since the Alliance began using the Statewide Common Measure Set in 2015; Kaiser Permanente Washington and Virginia Mason Medical Center for the commercially-insured and for the Medicaid-insured, Kaiser Permanente Washington and UW Medicine-Valley Medical Center.

“It’s true that this year’s Community Checkup comes at a critical time; while we are in the midst of an unprecedented health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” acknowledges Alliance Executive Director Nancy Giunto. “Yet as we emerge from this crisis, it will be more important than ever that we have access to unbiased information. It is in that spirit that we present these findings and look forward to the opportunity to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to improve health care quality and value in Washington state.”

Date: May 18, 2020
Contact: Leslie Bennett
Phone: 206.454.2961
Email: lbennett@wahealthalliance.org

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