Parsing a comprehensive new report from the Commonwealth Fund, which finds that the healthcare system in the U.S. is, in general, declining, receiving the lowest score it ever has
According to a comprehensive new report by the Commonwealth Fund, the healthcare system in the U.S. is, in general, declining. This year, the U.S. received a score of 64 out of a possible 100. In 2006, the U.S. got a 67 out of a possible 100, and in 2008 it earned a 65.
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The report, entitled "Why Not the Best? Results from the National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance, 2011," covers key health indicators from the years 2008-2009, and is the third installment of the series that began in 2006.
The researchers, gathered from various hospitals and research institutions across the country, considered 42 key measures of healthcare in five different areas reflecting financial, medical, and human considerations:
- Healthy Lives included variables having to do with life expectancy, mortality, and the prevalence of certain factors like smoking, and childhood overweight or obesity.
- Quality measured how well medical care delivered its goals and whether it is "well coordinated, safe, timely, and patient-centered."
- Access determined whether health care and health insurance were available to patients.
- Efficiency looked at how smoothly operations run in the health business, including how often preventable re-admissions to hospitals occur and whether facilities are using information systems.
- Equity assessed how different groups of patients are treated in the healthcare system.