April 19, 2011

U.S. Health Care 'Average at Best,' Poll Finds

Philanthropy News Digest   ·  Link to Article

From the Philanthropy News Digest:

U.S. Health Care 'Average at Best,' Poll Finds (4/13/11)

According to a new poll conducted by the Harvard School of Public  Health ( http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ ), a majority of Americans  believe the quality of health care in the United States is average at best.

Presented on Tuesday at the American Hospital Association's  annual membership meeting in Washington, D.C., the Robert Wood  Johnson Foundation-commissioned poll of 1,034 adults 18 or older  found that 55 percent of Americans give the quality of health  care in the U.S. a barely passing grade -- either a C or D on a  standard report card scale -- while more than one in ten give  it an F. The poll also found that nearly half (47 percent) of  the respondents give the quality of hospital care a grade of C,  D, or F.

At the same time, many consumers think more highly of their own  health care than they do about the healthcare system in general.

Across the board, respondents ranked the quality of the health  care and hospital care they receive as better than what they  think the country as a whole receives. In addition, the poll  found a sharp difference by income when it came to respondents' perception of the quality of the health care they receive, with  more than four in ten (43 percent) of those with household incomes under $50,000 rating the quality of their health care a  C, D, or F, while only one in five Americans (21 percent) with  household incomes of $50,000 or above rating it a C, D, or F.

"The poll is a wake-up call for payers and the healthcare industry, both of which have been working steadily to improve the  quality of care, but need to kick their efforts into overdrive  toward accountability," said RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "American health care faces a crisis in quality. There  is a dangerous divide between the potential for the high level  of quality care that our health system promises, and the uneven  quality that it actually delivers. Clearly, consumers are aware  of it. There are too many errors, too much misuse of medical  treatments, and, too often, poorly coordinated care among a  patient's different health care providers."

 "When It Comes to Quality, New Poll Shows Americans Give U.S.

 Health Care Low Grades." Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Press  Release 4/12/11.