U.S. still ranks last among industrialized countries in preventable mortality rates

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The United States continues to rank last among 19 industrialized nations when it comes to preventable mortality rates. That is an indication that the healthcare quality improvement measures put in place over the last several years have not had their desired effect, a Senate committee heard recently.

Representatives from the Commonwealth Fund and other organizations discussed progress made in improving the quality of healthcare since 2001 at a Thursday meeting of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In 2001, the Institute of Medicine released the Crossing the Quality Chasm report. The report called for a number of quality improvement measures to be implemented with the goal of closing the "quality gap" in the U.S. healthcare system. Requiring measurement and reporting on healthcare quality measurement outcomes is the most important way to improve healthcare value, one witness told the panel.

Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis told the senators that combined implementation of affordable healthcare coverage, provider payment reforms, better organized care delivery systems and national leadership would be necessary to affect adequate change, the Bureau of National Affairs reported.