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Failing grades for physician quality report cards

A “state report card on transparency of physician quality information” says that despite much work on the issue of physician quality ratings, “finding information on the quality of physicians remains elusive for most consumers.” It goes on to state:

“Close to 15 years after the Institute of Medicine’s Crossing The Quality Chasm (report), we have no idea, for the most part, on the quality of care delivered by the majority of clinicians in the U.S. That’s not just shameful, it puts patients at risk every day,”

A pdf file of the report is available online.

Only Minnesota and Washington received “A” grades. Washington for its Puget Sound Alliance Community Checkup. Minnesota – for its Minnesota Healthscores. (Although, as a resident of Minnesota, I wonder how much impact this report has had on MN consumers.)

Kaiser Health News reports:

“I was shocked because I honestly thought the availability of information on the quality of physicians was far more prevalent … It’s a very mixed bag,” said Francois de Brantes, co-author of the report.

The information is becoming increasingly important as consumers face higher deductibles and out-of-pocket costs and “want a sense of whether or not that money is being spent on physicians that will deliver high quality care,” de Brantes said.

Many states had information about primary care doctors, but not specialists.

“That’s only 10 or 15 percent of the cost of care,” de Brantes said. “They now might want to focus on the rest. When patients go and have procedures done by cardiologists or orthopedists or oncologists, they deserve to know the quality of care they are going to get.”

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