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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mass. healthcare system ranked eighth by foundation

By Alice Dembner, Globe Staff

Massachusetts ranks eighth among the states in the overall performance of its healthcare system, according to a report out today from the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation that promotes improvements in healthcare.

The scorecard rated each state on measures that included quality of care, access to care, avoidable hospitalizations, costs, and avoidable deaths.

Massachusetts scored particularly well on access, quality and equity of care, based on statistics that are several years old. The ongoing state health insurance initiative is likely to improve those scores if they are measured in the future.

The state ranked much worse –- 35th -– in avoidable hospital use and costs, which reflected higher hospitalizations of Medicare patients and higher insurance premiums among other things.

If Massachusetts’ performance improved to match that of the best states, nearly $240 million would be saved, the report found.

Nationally, the savings could reach $22 billion a year, the study found. In addition, 90,000 lives could be saved annually and millions would receive better care.

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