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Study: Lancaster ranked 12th in country for health care

By , - Last modified: March 15, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Lancaster and the surrounding area ranks near the top of a national report on quality of health care available, according to a study released this month.

The Lancaster area was ranked 12th out of 306 for overall health system performance, according to Rising to the Challenge: Results from a Scorecard on Local Health System Performance, a report by New York City-based The Commonwealth Fund.

The study compared the 306 defined hospital referral regions in the U.S., tracking 43 indicators using the most recent data available from 2008 through 2010. The indicators fell into four key areas of health system performance: access, quality, costs and potentially avoidable hospital use and health outcomes.

The researchers relied on public data, including government-sponsored surveys, registries, publically reported quality information, mortality data and administrative databases, according to the report.

Lancaster scored in the top 25 percent in the four main areas of the study, including being listed in the top 10 percent for prevention and treatment, according to the report. It also was ranked in the top three locations for the percent of adults with a regular source of care.

However, the area ranked in the bottom 25 percent for patient-centered hospital care, and in the bottom half of those ranked for home health quality, according to the study.

Nearby Harrisburg ranked 51 overall, and York was listed at 32 in the report.

The study found strong relationships between the core components of health system performance, such as better access being associated with higher quality, and both of those associated with improved health outcomes.

"These cross-dimensional findings underscore the need for policymakers and community leaders to focus on population health and take a whole-system view to improve performance," the report stated.

As rising health care costs and quality continue to be major issues in the U.S., the many stakeholders — including federal insurance programs, private insurers, state policymakers, community health leaders and local businesses — must work together to maintain affordability, quality and responsiveness, the study said.

The Commonwealth Fund is a research and grant provider to improve health care practices and policy in the U.S.

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