The Commonwealth Fund today released its first-ever Scorecard on Local Health System Performance. The findings show clearly that where you live matters for health care access and care experiences. Comparing all 306 local health care areas, known as hospital referral regions, in the United States, the report finds that access, quality, costs, and health outcomes all vary significantly from one local community to another, often with a two- to threefold variation in key indicators between leading and lagging communities. The top-performing areas are concentrated in the Upper Midwest and Northeast.
Check out the interactive infographic to explore your community and compare it to others.
In a compelling investigative piece that ran in the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Sunday edition, reporter Alan Judd revealed that some hospital information – including patient suicides, sexual assaults and surgical errors – remain confidential in Georgia, even as health care information elsewhere moves toward more transparency.
From the article:
“The state does not allow public review of reports that hospitals submit following such episodes. It divulges little information even when it concludes a facility violated regulations. It withholds all uncorroborated allegations of wrongdoing, along with details of its investigations.
This lack of disclosure leaves medical consumers with no systematic way of learning whether a particular hospital has a history of complaints that might signal a pattern of inadequate care. It also prevents taxpayers from assessing the quality of state investigations into medical error.”
State and hospital officials have maintained that publicly disclosing these events would cause more harm than good.
Georgia hospitals are required to notify the state of any “unanticipated” deaths that are not related to the reason for a patient’s admission, such as suicides, fatal drug overdoses, medical errors, falls or surgeries performed on the wrong patient or the wrong body part. But Georgia’s Department of Community Health’s online database only vaguely explains hospital mistakes that violated state or federal regulations, according to the article.
Read the full story on the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s website here.