States are seeing improvements in health care quality, but disparities for their minority and low-income residents persist, according to the 2010 State Snapshots, released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The 2010 State Snapshots, an interactive Web-based tool, show whether a state has improved or worsened on specific health care quality measures.

New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island showed the greatest overall performance improvement in 2010. Meanwhile, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas exhibited the smallest overall performance improvement. As in previous years, AHRQ’s 2010 State Snapshots show that no state does well or poorly on all quality measures.

For each state and the District of Columbia, the 2010 State Snapshots includes an individual performance summary of more than 100 measures, such as giving recommended care to pneumonia patients, preventing pressure sores, and screening for diabetes-related foot problems. It also compares each state to others in its region and the nation.

Among minority and low-income Americans, the level of health care quality and access to services remained unfavorable. The size of disparities related to race and income varied widely across the states.

“Every American should have access to high-quality, appropriate and safe health care, and we need to increase our efforts to achieve that goal because our slow progress is not acceptable,” said Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, director of AHRQ. “These AHRQ 2010 State Snapshots not only provide states with a benchmark on how they are doing in these areas, but they also provide resources that states can use to make improvements.”

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality