Report: MN Health Care Quality Runs the Gamut

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Health gives consumers a glimpse into the varying quality of care offered by the state's health providers.

A new report sheds light on the disparities among Minnesota's health care providers-and it offers consumers a glimpse into the performance of hospitals and clinics throughout the state.

The report, released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health, is the result of health reform laws requiring the state to develop a standardized set of measures against which it can analyze the quality of services offered by health care providers.

Providers are labeled with a percentage, which reflects the portion of patients who received “best care”-the definition of which varies from category to category. The quality of care differed dramatically across the state.

For instance, when analyzing clinics based on childhood immunizations, the report measured the percentage of children who received a series of recommended vaccinations by age two. Statewide, clinics range between 54 percent and 92 percent in that category.

The report found that some clinics more frequently perform a strep test prior to prescribing antibiotics to children who have sore throats-while others are more apt to dole out drugs without the recommended test.

The report also tracked the number of adults between ages 51 and 80 who received recommended cancer tests-and the gap in the results is eye-opening. The percent of patients receiving the proper preventive measures ranged from 15 to 89 at different facilities.

For adults with diabetes, the report indicates which clinics are more likely to help patients reach a handful of important goals, including cholesterol control and maintaining proper blood sugar levels. The report also includes measures of hospitals pertaining to heart attacks, heart failure, surgical care, medical complications, child birth, and infection prevention, as well as other conditions such as pneumonia.

The statewide report covers four regions: Northwest and West Central; Northeast and Central; Twin Cities metro; and Southwest, Southeast, and South Central. It is hundreds of pages long and contains many measures by which consumers can compare the quality of care offered by providers across the state. Click here to download the full report for each of the state's four regions.