Thursday, September 11, 2014
All Health Care is Local: The Power of Community to Drive Improvement
In many communities across the U.S., poverty is a depressingly reliable indicator of health outcomes and health system performance, in part because access to care tends to be more limited in impoverished areas while socioeconomic challenges associated with poor health—low education levels, homelessness, and mental illness—abound. But there are some fascinating exceptions to this general rule, as The Commonwealth Fund’s 2012 Scorecard on Local Health System Performance revealed.
Among them are communities with significant poverty that nonetheless perform in the top tier on a composite measure of health care access, quality, efficiency, and outcomes. Our goal was to explore—to the extent possible from qualitative research—what might be contributing to their performance. We interviewed local business leaders, insurance company executives, health care providers, and the heads of community-based organizations and philanthropies....