More than 40 million Americans over the age of 65 depend on Medicare to provide them with health care, but just how good is that care? A new government study ranks each state in the U.S. for the quality of care that medicare patients receive.
The report says the quality is improving, but still has a long way to go. It explains that in 1998 and '99, about 69% of Medicare patients received appropriate care. Two years later, that figure went up to about 73% of patients.
"That sounds like a small difference, but it is a huge difference to achieve that nationwide in just two years," says Stephen Jenks, M.D., Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Even so, Dr. Jenks warns that care is not yet what it should be. Specifically, Texans need to be a little concerned, because it's not on the list of the nation's best Medicare providers. Those are New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, North Dakota, and Utah. Instead, Texas is in the bottom five on the list of quality Medicare services along with Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Jenks stresses that the quality problems are not caused by individual practitioners. These are problems with the systems in which care is provided. For the complete Medicare quality state rankings, (click here).