In 2000, Jencks and colleaguesArticle reported national- and state-level performance
data on Medicare Quality Improvement Organization indicators of the quality
of care delivered to fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries in 1998-1999.
The indicators measure delivery of services that evidence has shown to be
effective in preventing or treating breast cancer, diabetes, myocardial infarction,
heart failure, pneumonia, and stroke. In this report of follow-up data on
care given in 2000-2001, Jencks and colleagues found that the performance
of the median state and the weighted national average improved on 20 of 22
indicators. The percentage of patients receiving appropriate care on the median
indicator in the median state increased from 69.5% to 73.4%, but performance
continued to vary widely across states and by indicator. Relative rankings
among states changed little. In an editorial, HsiaArticle discusses opportunities
suggested by the quality literature to improve the quality of health care.