Texas—And Most Other States—Receives Failing Grade on Physician-Quality Transparency

The 50 state report card on physician quality transparency. Source: HCIII
The 50 state report card on physician quality transparency. Source: HCIII

Nearly every U.S. state is failing its residents by not providing adequate information about physician quality, according to a recent report.

The report—produced by the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute—gave 47 states a “D” or “F.” Texas received an “F”; only Washington and Minnesota received an “A,” while California received a “C.” No state received a B, and the majority of states received an “F.”

“We’re 15 years out from the Institute of Medicine’s trailblazing report calling for the transformation of a ‘fundamentally flawed’ health care system, and for the most part we still have no idea of the quality of care delivered by the majority of physicians in the U.S.,” said HCI3 executive director Francois de Brantes. “That’s not just shameful, but it unnecessarily puts patients at risk. By highlighting states that are making a conscious effort to provide data to consumers, we hope to encourage others to embark on similar efforts.”

HCI3 graded the states using scoring criteria that included the percentage of physicians and supporting healthcare professionals with publicly available quality information; the type of measurement provided (i.e. outcomes, process, patient experience); and the accessibility of the information to consumers. Overall, Texas tied for 27th nationwide, though, again, it received a near-bottom score. Out of a possible 100 points, Texas received two. Minnesota received the highest score, with a 69.

In addition to HCI3, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is also pushing to make available transparent, quality information for healthcare consumers.

“The American public not only needs usable information about their healthcare, they have a right to it,” said Michael Painter, M.D., senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “In fact, it’s completely unacceptable, and arguably immoral, for people not to have that information at their fingertips. Without it people are essentially trying to make smart, informed decisions that impact their health and the health for their families in the dark. That needs to stop and this HCI3 consumer app is an important stride in that direction.”

The rating should be taken with a grain of salt: HCI3 is a non-profit that’s part of a larger group that advocates for evidence-based incentive programs and healthcare payment reform.

Some Texas organizations are trying to help the state boost its grade. In February, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas introduced a new online physician ranking program called Physician Quality Measurement, part of a national Blue Cross Blue Shield effort to improve quality transparency. The new program rates physicians based on 20 quality measures, and will use measures similar to those used in its long-standing BlueCompare program, and provide greater detail for each physician’s measures on quality metrics.

“Today’s consumers are always looking for more information about physicians and quality healthcare,” BCBSTX medical director for health care quality and policy Allan Chernov, MD, told D Healthcare Daily at the time. “[PQM] promotes the collaboration of physicians, patients, health plan,s and employers in continuously improving the quality of care.”

Posted in News, Physicians.