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Older adults in the US are sicker and have more financial barriers to care

An international survey of older adults finds that seniors in the United States are sicker than their counterparts in 11 other high-income countries and face greater financial barriers to health care, despite the universal coverage that Medicare provides.

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<p>A new 11-country survey from The Commonwealth Fund finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other high-income nations to go without needed health care because of costs and to struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing and healthy food. </p>

Nearly one-quarter of primary care physicians in the United States report they are not prepared to care for the sickest and frailest patients, and 84 percent say they are not well prepared to manage patients with serious mental illness, according to a new 10-nation survey. 

<p>This 11-country survey finds that 87 percent of U.S. adults age 65 and older have at least one chronic illness and 68 percent have two or more, the highest rates in the survey.</p>

<p>A 2013 survey conducted in 11 countries finds that U.S. adults are significantly more likely than their counterparts to forgo health care because of the cost, to have difficulty paying for care even when they have insurance, and to deal with time-consuming insurance issues.</p>

<p>Two-thirds of U.S. primary care physicians reported using electronic medical records in 2012, up from less than half (46%) in 2009, according to findings from the 2012 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey, </p>

<p>This cross-country survey finds adults with complex medical conditions, including those with serious or chronic illness, injury, or disability, benefit from receiving their care from a medical home.</p>

<p>This survey finds that adults in the United States are far more likely than those in 10 other industrialized nations to go without health care because of costs, have trouble paying medical bills, encounter high medical bills even when insured, and have disputes with their insurers or discover insurance wouldn't pay as they expected. </p>

<p>This Commonwealth Fund survey of primary care physicians in 11 countries reveals that the United States lags far behind its peers in key measures of access, quality, and use of health IT—undermining doctors’ efforts to provide timely, high-quality care. </p>

<p>A 2008 survey of chronically ill adults in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States found major differences in health care access, safety, and efficiency, with U.S. patients at particularly high risk of forgoing care because of costs and experiencing errors or inefficient, poorly organized care.</p>

<p>U.S. adults are more likely than adults in six other countries to go without health care because of the cost—and more likely to say that the health care system needs to be rebuilt completely, according to the 2007 International Health Policy Survey in Seven Countries.</p>

<p>U.S. primary care doctors are less likely than those in several other countries to be able to offer patients access to care outside regular office hours or to have systems that alert doctors to potentially harmful drug interactions, according to the Commonwealth Fund 2006 International Health Policy Survey.</p>

<p>To provide a patient and cross-national perspective, this survey involved interviews with adults in six countries who had recently been hospitalized, had surgery, or reported health problems. The findings revealed strikingly similiar results in all countries.</p>

<p>According to this survey of patients in five industrialized nations, a serious shortfall in the delivery of safe, effective, timely, or patient-centered primary care is an international problem.</p>

<p>The most recent Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey asked hospital executives in five countries—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States—for their views of their nation's health care system, the level and quality of hospital resources, and efforts to improve quality of care.</p>

<p>This survey asked patients in five English-speaking nations about quality of care, focusing on medical errors, patient-physician communication and coordination of care.</p>

<p>This survey assessed how satisfied citizens of five English-speaking countries were with their health care systems, and the relationship between income and such issues as access to care.</p>

<p>This survey assessed whether access to care is more equitably distributed among income groups in countries that provide universal, publicly funded health coverage.</p>