Connecticut was among 41 states nationwide to earn a failing grade from health advocates for lacking public information about the quality of care provided by doctors.
“Consumers should be able to find out if their local primary care physician is delivering good quality care without having to go through hoops,” said Francois de Brantes, executive director of the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute in Newtown, which published the report. “Connecticut has no public reporting of physician quality.”
Only two states, Minnesota and Washington, received an ‘A.’ California received a ‘C’ and the remaining states earned a ‘D’ or ‘F.’
Mark Schaefer, the state’s new director of Healthcare Innovation, wasn’t surprised by the findings. “It’s widely recognized that consumers in the health care market don’t have accessible and reliable information about the cost of treatments across settings and the quality of providers at the clinical level,” he said. “Like most states, this is something Connecticut is working on.”
The “State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information” scored states on many factors, including the number of doctors rated, whether the ratings included information about clinical outcomes and consumer experiences, and how easy it was to access information online.
Having access to transparent information about provider quality and costs has become increasingly important as consumers facing higher insurance deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses try to make informed decisions when comparing physician networks and health plans.
In Connecticut, health experts expect the All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) currently under construction, and health care delivery and payment reforms to play important roles in establishing performance, quality and cost transparency. Last week’s announcement by the Connecticut Hospital Association that members take steps by March 1 to inform patients about facility fees if they receive care at hospital-owned medical offices was another step toward greater price transparency.
Assessing a provider’s performance poses special challenges because “often times quality is in the eye of the beholder,” said Matthew Katz, executive vice president and chief executive officer for the Connecticut State Medical Society, which represents more than 7,000 physicians. “What constitutes as quality for one insurer, provider or consumer may be completely different for another.”
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