The Commonwealth Fund Connection is a roundup of recent Fund publications, charts, multimedia, and other timely content.
Many U.S. communities saw gains in their health and health care between 2011 and 2014, but wide variation in progress indicates there is room for improvement across the country, The Commonwealth Fund’s newly updated Scorecard on Local Health System Performance finds.
Those areas of the U.S. that improved did so largely because more people had insurance coverage and could afford to get the care they needed, and because health care providers performed better on quality and efficiency measures—such as limiting hospital readmissions. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has contributed to many of these improvements, the researchers say.
Still, the analysis of 306 U.S. local areas on health care access, quality, avoidable hospital use, costs of care, and health outcomes shows that while care improved more than it worsened in nearly all communities, the gains were often modest. Among the more worrisome trends are the rise in obesity rates in more than 100 areas and the stagnation in preventable death rates nearly everywhere.
The Commonwealth Fund’s interactive scorecard features data visualizations, an online tool enabling comparisons of U.S. communities, and complete area-by-area results on the scorecard’s 36 health system indicators.