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The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care Costs - BY LOCATION

So where is the real health care data? I found it!
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The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care!  And believe me,  location matters!

Having just tried to find more cost effective health insurance and long term care insurance, I can tell you how frustrating it is to get good data.  We live in Los Angeles and one would surmise that a large city is more expensive than smaller communities -- but the long term insurance rep said it was less expensive.  

For more than 20 years, the Dartmouth Atlas Project has documented glaring variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States. The project uses Medicare data to provide comprehensive information and analysis about national, regional, and local markets, as well as individual hospitals and their affiliated physicians.

Look up your region on this handy interactive map: 


This interactive US Atlas of Health Care shows you various information by local areas... the best, the growth, by hospital referral region.

As you can see, the Los Angeles region has a bit of a difference in prices and cost increases than counties north and south of it.  Hmmmm....
 

The cost of providing health care to seniors is rising more than twice as fast in Dallas as in San Diego, and Medicare now spends nearly three times more to care for its enrollees in Miami than it does in Honolulu.

This illustrates how huge inefficiencies in the U.S. health care system are hamstringing the nation's ability to expand access to care, according to a new analysis of Medicare spending by researchers of the Dartmouth Atlas Project published in February 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Nationally, Medicare spent an average of $8,304 per enrollee in 2006, and national spending grew at a rate of 3.5 percent annually from 1992 to 2006. Among states, New York was tops in spending per enrollee, at $9,564. Hawaii was lowest, at $5,311.

Where Medicare spending per enrollee grew at an annual rate of 5 percent in Miami, the rate was less than half, at 2.4 percent, in San Francisco. Medicare spent $16,351 per enrollee in Miami in 2006, almost twice the spending of $8,331 in San Francisco.

The researchers project that, at current spending rates, Medicare will be $660 billion in the red by 2023. But by reducing the annual growth in per capita spending from 3.5 percent, the national average, to 2.4 percent, the rate in San Francisco, Medicare could save $1.42 trillion and turn the deficit into a healthy surplus.

Small Differences Make a Huge Savings

"The good news is that small differences, because of compounding, can make an enormous difference for the long-term solvency of Medicare and our ability to expand coverage for the uninsured," said co-author Jonathan Skinner, Ph. D., the John Sloan Dickey Third Century Chair of Economics at Dartmouth College.
 

The authors call on physicians to lead an effort to reform how the U.S. delivers and pays for health care to bring spending under control.


Systems of Quality Care

They write: "Payment systems could then shift from purely volume-based payments to systems ... that foster accountability for the overall costs and quality of care, allowing physicians to align their work more closely with the values that brought them to health care. "
 

"This work demonstrates why health reformers should work to realign private and public payment schemes to benefit quality performance over the volume of services," said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. "Clinicians who successfully provide high quality care and slow spending growth should be rewarded, not penalized."

About the Dartmouth Atlas Project
For more than 20 years, the Dartmouth Atlas Project has documented glaring variations in how medical resources are distributed and used in the United States. The project uses Medicare data to provide comprehensive information and analysis about national, regional, and local markets, as well as individual hospitals and their affiliated physicians. These reports, used by policymakers, the media, health care analysts and others, have radically changed our understanding of the efficiency and effectiveness of our health care system.

About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful, and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves.



Editor, Carolyn Allen

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Publication Date: 11/14/2009
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