Washington Health Alliance releases latest Community Checkup Report

The Washington Health Alliance (WHA) on Wednesday released its 2019 Community Checkup Report, highlighting the latest statewide data on over 110 performance measures related to health care quality, pricing, spending, and overuse. In its 13th iteration, the checkup report brings together information from 1,978 clinics, 376 medical groups, 123 hospitals, 16 health plans, 39 counties, and all 9 Accountable Communities of Health.



Starting broadly, the report compares Washington’s statewide performance to national performance benchmarks. The report utilizes the Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) dataset to draw comparisons. For the commercially-insured, 77% of Washington’s performance measures are below the national average, with 50% below the national 25th percentile. The comparison is similar for the Medicaid-insured, where 76% of the state’s measurements are below the national average, including 53% below the 25th percentile.


Image: Washington Health Alliance


For both commercially-insured and Medicaid-insured, Washington only performed at or above the 90th percentile on one measure – avoiding antibiotics for adults with acute bronchitis.

For both groups, the state performed below the 25th percentile for measurements of access to primary care for some children and those over 45 years old, adolescent well-care visits, cervical cancer screenings, and chlamydia screenings.

The report also details the wide variation in preventive care across the state. The following graph details the variation of 7 measurements for the commercially-insured population. Each blue dot represents a medical group, the black diamond represents the state average, and the yellow line is the national 90th percentile measurement.


Image: Washington Health Alliance


For all 7 preventative care and health screening measures, there is a wide variation in performance for Washington medical groups.

In the report, the Washington Health Alliance also utilized results of up to 31 measures to rank the performance of medical groups of four or more providers in the state. Notably, for the commercially-insured, Kaiser Permanente Washington and Virginia Mason Medical Center have placed in the top five every year since the Alliance began using this measure set in 2015. Kaiser Permanente Washington has also been in the top five every year for the Medicaid-insured, along with UW Medicine – Valley Medical Center.

The full medical group ranking is available here.

“Looking at how we, as providers, are performing across these quality measures is humbling and this report provides a more focused view on where we can focus our energy, says Dr. Christopher Kodama, President and CEO of Embright, LLC, in the report. “Though there are many different facets and complexities at play, the most important thing to keep in mind is that implementing change across the health care system is an ongoing journey that requires vision, tenacity, resilience, and collaboration.”

In an effort to contribute to greater transparency in health care spending, the report also evaluates the state’s annual health care spending growth relative to the state GDP:


Image: Washington Health Alliance


“As we prepare to update this year’s Community Checkup, we are faced with an unprecedented health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” wrote WHA Executive Director Nancy Giunto in the report. “Much of what will be reported here is eclipsed by urgent needs of the moment, yet as we emerge from this crisis, it will be more important than ever that we have access to unbiased information to help us improve our health care system in Washington state.”