Commonwealth Fund Releases 2015 Scorecard Report

The Commonwealth Fund’s has released its 2015 scorecard, the scorecard found that overall the systems improved in more ways than they declined since the previous performance measure in 2014. The fourth edition of the Commonwealth state scorecard looks at changes that occurred in 2013 and 2014, making it the first in the series to reflect the impacts of a full year under the Affordable Care Act’s major health insurance expansions. The report concludes that overall, access to healthcare was substantially improved and there were gains in quality and safety, but that there continue to be "stark" performance differences between states.

The report uses 42 indicators to rank the healthcare systems of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, looking at factors around healthcare access, quality, costs and outcomes. Of those 42 indicators, 36 are used to uncover trends over the years. It found performance continuing to lag in some states on numerous indicators. Overall, the states at the top and bottom stayed the same as those in the previous measure. Those at the top were Minnesota, Vermont, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, while those at the bottom were Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi.

Among the report's key findings were four low performing states improved on numerous measures: Louisiana on 16, Oklahoma on 14, and Kentucky and Tennessee on 13. Other notable states were Colorado, Florida, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, Missouri, and South Carolina, which only dropped down on one measure each while they improved on between six and 10 measures.

“These are the most substantial and widespread state improvements in access to care we’ve seen since we created the state scorecard series in 2007,” stated Commonwealth Fund President Dr. David Blumenthal. “While there are still wide differences among states, and performance has worsened in some instances, policy changes like those in the Affordable Care Act, incentives to improve healthcare quality and safety, and provider-led efforts are beginning to bear fruit.”

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