Washington Health Alliance releases new quality scores for ACHs and counties

Washington Health Alliance (WHA) on Wednesday announced the use of a new quality composite score to compare medical care quality in Washington State. The composite score combines up to 29 measures from WHA’s Community Checkup Reports which measure the quality of care delivered to Medicaid and commercially-insured in the state.


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The composite score brings together measures related to prevention and screening (such as well-child visits or cancer screenings) and care for chronic diseases (such as management of diabetes or depression). The score also includes measures of coordinated and cost-effective care (such as the avoidance of costly inpatient readmissions), and appropriate and cost-effective care (ex. avoiding inappropriate use of antibiotics). The report refers to these four categories as “domains.”

“This is a revolutionary way for us to look at health care quality and see what we need to do to effect positive change in our state,” says WHA Executive Director Nancy Giunto.

WHA’s first report utilizing the new quality composite score evaluates the quality of care by county and by individual Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs). The report evaluates the composite scores for both commercial and Medicaid populations.

For the Medicaid-insured population, Greater Columbia ACH, Olympic Community of Health, and North Sound ACH were the top-ranked ACHs. SW WA Regional Health Alliance sat at the bottom of the ACH rankings for Medicaid.


Image: Washington Health Alliance


Greater Columbia was a top performer for the four domains, but the next two ACHs down the list showed low rankings for prevention and screening measures.

For the commercially-insured population, HealthierHere, North Sound ACH, and Pierce County ACH were the top performers. Similar to the Medicaid rankings, SW WA Regional Health Alliance was at the bottom of the list.

In an evaluation of individual counties, for the Medicaid-insured population, Franklin, Benton, and Yakima Counties had the highest composite scores. The three counties were in the green (above average) or grey (average) for all four domains.

Clark, Pend Oreille, and Stevens counties ranked last.

The commercially-insured rankings shows King, Snohomish, and Spokane Counties at the top. King was all green except for its use of appropriate, cost-effective care. Spokane county was in the red (below average) for prevention and screening.

In this comparison, Grant, Stevens, and Clark County ranked the lowest.


Image: Washington Health Alliance


“What we focus on is driven by what the data tells us,” says Carol Moser, Executive Director of the Greater Columbia ACH. “Understanding where the opportunities are at the county level helps us to better identify priority initiatives and measure progress for the nine counties and one tribal nation we serve. This report gives us valuable information to improve the health of all of our residents.”

WHA says its will use the quality composite scores to report on quality at the medical group and clinic location level in its Community Checkup report in September.