The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ's) annual release of State-by-State quality data has been expanded to include new data on health insurance, including data on health care quality categorized by source of payment (private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and those without insurance). The 2009 State Snapshots, recently released by AHRQ, are available at http://statesnapshots.ahrq.gov.
The new health insurance section allows users to compare payer-specific quality rates as well as differences among payers. For example, a State can compare the quality of care received by Medicaid or uninsured patients with that received by these same patients nationally. In addition, a State can assess whether its insurance-related disparities are larger or smaller compared with the nation as a whole.
The 2009 State Snapshots provide State-specific health care quality information, including strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. State-level information used to create the State Snapshots is based on data collected for AHRQ's 2009 National Healthcare Quality Report. Overall, States get mixed reviews for the quality of care they provide. As in previous years, AHRQ's 2009 State Snapshots show that no state does well or poorly on all quality measures. Maine, Maryland, Wyoming, South Carolina, and the District of Columbia showed the greatest improvement. The five States showing the smallest improvement were North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Nebraska, and Washington State. For each State, specific clinical conditions could be identified that accounted for different rates of improvement.
"The addition of the insurance information to the State Snapshots adds one more dimension to the picture of health care quality and disparities in individual States and regions," said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. "The 2009 State Snapshots continue to evolve into an invaluable resource for State officials and other stakeholders."
The 2009 State Snapshots summarizes health care quality in three dimensions: types of care (preventive, acute, and chronic care), settings of care (hospitals, ambulatory settings, nursing homes, and home health care), and clinical conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, maternal and child health, and respiratory disease). There are also special focus areas on diabetes, asthma, Healthy People 2010 objectives, clinical preventive services, and disparities. Additional features in the 2009 State Snapshots provide more ways to analyze the quality of health care for each State compared with all States, as well as with States in the same region.