Blog | Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grim reports on healthcare quality, equality

Two AHRQ reports issued today reveal a rather dismal state of affairs for American healthcare.

The 2008 National Healthcare Quality Report and 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report suggest many Americans don't get recommended care, and that patient safety measures have gotten worse.

Some findings from the report:

  • 40% of recommended care isn't received by patients.
  • Only 40% of patients with diabetes received three recommended diabetic preventive exams in the past year, and this rate hasn't improved over time.
  • Only half of obese adults and children are given advice to exercise more and eat a healthy diet.
  • 70% of adults with mood, anxiety, or impulse disorders receive inadequate treatment or no treatment at all.
  • Patient safety measures have worsened by nearly 1% each year for the past 6 years.

Patient safety has declined, in part, due to a rise in infections acquired in healthcare settings, the AHRQ said in a press release. As such, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius plans to make $50 million in grants available to states to fight healthcare-associated infections, it said.