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FL quality rated below average

6/30/2009 © Health News Florida

Quality of health care in Florida is rated “weak” or “very weak” on five of a dozen measures in a new federal report, with the worst scores going to diabetes and respiratory care. 

Florida’s strengths are in home-health care and cancer treatment, the report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The state received an average score in five categories.

The overall score shown in a dashboard graphic is on the high side of weak, or about a D+. Florida scored better than Louisiana or Texas and about the same as Georgia, but worse than the Carolinas or Virginia. 

The Northeastern states, in general, scored highest. The Midwest and West were in the average range, and the South did worst.
"This information is valuable as it adds to our body of knowledge," spokeswoman Susan Smith of the Florida Department of Health said in an e-mail. "Diabetes along with other chronic diseases are increasing in Florida, and we are always looking for ways to reach these populations early so as to avoid the health and financial impact ..."

AHRQ releases state “snapshots” each year to give a sense of strengths and weaknesses and progress, or lack thereof, according to a press release.
State officials, health-care providers and payers can all use the data to focus on areas that need improvement, AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy said.

The data are drawn from the 2008 National Healthcare Quality Report released in May by the Department of Health and Human Services.