Minnesota health care, like economy, might be ailing
ST. PAUL There are hints that the prolonged economic downturn is beginning to take a toll on primary care for some Minnesotans. A new report on health care quality being released today shows that the rate of clinic patients getting optimal care f...
There are hints that the prolonged economic downturn is beginning to take a toll on primary care for some Minnesotans.
A new report on health care quality being released today shows that the rate of clinic patients getting optimal care for diabetes and vascular conditions was flat between 2008 and 2009. What's more, the rate of Minnesotans getting preventive care such as breast cancer screenings or childhood immunizations either decreased slightly or stayed flat, according to the study from MN Community Measurement, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit group.
The scores are a contrast from previous years when medical clinics providing these types of care tended to show consistent improvement, said Jim Chase, executive director of MN Community Measurement.
Without the clinics' ongoing efforts to keep scores high, the rates might have either fallen or fallen further, Chase said.
"Evidently, a lot of people weren't coming in at the end of the year, which would have affected scores across the board," he said. "People were putting things off."
The seventh annual report from MN Community Measurement provides scores for 553 medical clinics across the state on 18 quality measures as well as their adoption of health-information technology.
The impact of the recession on demand for medical services has previously been reported by medical manufacturers in the Twin Cities, where officials have seen stagnant demand for certain high-end devices. Job losses have led
to disruptions in insurance coverage, company officials say, which in turn has sapped demand for certain types of care.
The report out today suggests that something similar is happening with chronic and preventive care, though the impact is subtle.
The share of clinic patients receiving optimal diabetes care declined by 0.2 percent between 2008 and 2009, according to the report, while the percentage of patients receiving optimal vascular care held steady at 33.8 percent.
The percentage of women ages 52 to 69 who received a mammogram in the prior two years dropped from 77 percent in 2008 to 75 percent in 2009. The percentage of children who had received a series of recommended vaccinations by their second birthday dropped from 78 percent in 2008 to 76 percent in 2009.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.