"The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through." -- Sydney J. Harris

43 States Earn Failing Grades On Doctor Quality Information

By Bruce Japsen, Forbes
November 18, 2015

Despite moves by health insurers and the federal government toward providing publicly available information on physicians, most states fail when it comes to doctor transparency, a new report shows.

The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute flunked 40 states and the District of Columbia with a grade of “F” while three other states received a “D,” which is also considered failing. This means nearly 90% of U.S. states aren’t providing easy access or any access to information to help consumers make informed choices when they pick a physician.

“The vast majority of Americans simply don’t have access to local information on the quality of physician care,” Francois de Brantes, executive director of the Institute, known as “HCI3 in the industry, said in a statement accompanying the report, “State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information.”

California joined Minnesota and Washington to earn an “A” grade for their quality reporting. Minnesota’s efforts are increasingly looked at as a model given statewide effort to compare doctor practices on several performance measures as well as a patient’s experience in the doctor’s office. The Minnesota HealthScores web site compares doctor practices on how well they get their patients’ preventive care and wellness screenings.

The other states with passing grades were Maine, which received a “B,” while “C” grades were awarded to Massachusetts, Oregon and Wisconsin.

The results are disappointing given the push by employers, insurers and consumer groups for more transparency, particularly as Americans face higher deductibles and related cost-sharing that force them to shop for better health care buys.

Health plans like Aetna, Anthem, Cigna and UnitedHealth Group have their own measurements health plan subscribers can access but consumers are often less trusting of insurance company rankings. The information from states earning passing grades from HCI3 ranking generally come directly from the doctor practice.

Read the original Forbes article