WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jack Ebeler, President and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) issued the following statement today, in reaction to new research that indicates that Medicare patients with similar chronic conditions receive different levels of care, and that more care and spending is not associated with better quality or longer survival times:
“The new Dartmouth research is the latest evidence that Americans don’t always receive the health care they should. Patients in some parts of the country receive too much care. In other areas they receive too little.
Just because medical services are available doesn’t necessarily mean they are always necessary. Excess care is bad for patients and bad for the health care system.
“Only one quarter of Americans are covered by health plans that report quality data. If all plans committed to public reporting, patients would have a meaningful resource to help them select the best care.
“The Dartmouth studies also show that spending more on care doesn’t guarantee better quality. Measurement, public reporting and closer links between patient, provider and health plan are the keys to reigning in care excesses and better quality.”
Reporter/Editor’s Note: ACHP’s recent policy report, Variations in Healthcare, synthesizes current research on that topic. The study cites Wennberg and Fisher’s Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare and other works to illustrate that there are variations in the amount of spending and utilization of services across hospital regions in the United States – and that care quality is often better in lower- spending Medicare regions.
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The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) brings together innovative, not-for-profit or provider-sponsored health plans and provider organizations focused on improving health care. ACHP offers an intimate forum for members to identify problems, share best practices and collaborate on solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges and a platform to advocate for better care nationally. More information is available at www.achp.org.