Virginia Ranked in the Top 10 Nationally for Health Care Quality

August 30, 2017

Federal Government’s AHRQ Report Assesses Performance of Health Care Delivery System, Identifies Areas of Strengths and Weaknesses in Health Care

RICHMOND, VA – A recent federal government analysis ranks Virginia in the top 10 among states in an assessment of health care quality. The latest annual National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report (QDR) released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) ranks Virginia ninth nationwide, with a score of 62.5 out of 100. That ranking reflects broad improvement in the Commonwealth. In the annual rankings released from 2007-2011, Virginia’s scores ranged from 46.25 to 52.68, placing the Commonwealth in the middle-of-the-pack among states. This report is mandated by Congress to provide a comprehensive overview of the quality of health care received by the general United States’ population, as well as disparities in care experienced by people in different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

“To better serve patients, Virginia hospital leaders have prioritized enhancing health care quality and safety across our individual organizations, and throughout the Commonwealth,” said Michael V. Gentry, Sentara Healthcare Senior Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, and Chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association’s (VHHA) Board of Directors. “Virginia’s top 10 ranking in the latest AHRQ national assessment is both a milestone achievement that shows progress is being made in the right direction, as well as a reminder that our work isn’t finished.”

“Continually improving health care quality is a foundational principle for Virginia’s local hospitals and health systems,” added VHHA President and CEO Sean T. Connaughton. “VHHA’s Board of Directors has made improving health care quality a strategic priority for the Association and its members. In 2015, the Board established the VHHA Center for Healthcare Excellence to support quality and patient safety efforts, develop metrics for charting performance, and implement best practices. While work is ongoing, the latest AHRQ ratings demonstrate the seriousness of Virginia’s commitment to improvement and show that hospitals in the Commonwealth have made impressive strides.”

The National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report assesses the performance of the health care delivery system using 250 measures of quality and disparities. It identifies areas of strengths, weaknesses, and gaps for access to health care and quality of care. Quality is defined in terms relative to the National Quality Strategy (NQS) priorities, which include patient safety, person-centered care, care coordination, effective treatment, healthy living, and care affordability.

Compared to all states, the performance for all Virginia measures is in the “Strong” range for the most recent data period. Of the 156 metrics used to calculate Virginia’s performance, Virginia notched improvements in 60 metrics in the most recent data period, which incorporates data from 2016.

Of the NQS priorities, Virginia ranked particularly strong in “Effective Treatment” measurements (ranking fourth nationwide with a score of 69.23 out of 100.) Virginia also ranked first nationwide compared to all states for “Acute Care” measurements, with a score of 78.26, and seventh overall for “Chronic Care” measurements, with a score of 71.28 out of 100.

States ranked ahead of Virginia in overall measures are Wisconsin (70.65), Massachusetts (70.43), Pennsylvania (66.55), Maine (64.91), North Dakota (64.73), Iowa (63.97), New Hampshire (63.68), and Rhode Island (62.77). Visit this link to see state results.

Improvements reflected in the AHRQ rankings are in line with the VHHA Board of Directors’ vision to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation by 2020. Other active efforts to chart hospital performance include VHHA’s Quality & Patient Safety Scorecards, an interactive, online tool that enables users to review data showing hospital-specific performance on key quality, safety, and patient satisfaction measures; and the Community Health Legislative Dashboards, which enable users to review key health and population statistics by region throughout the Commonwealth. The AHRQ results come months after two national health care quality organizations recognized dozens of Virginia hospitals for exceptional patient safety performance. In the Spring 2017 Hospital Safety Grade scores from the Leapfrog Group, a national health care patient safety ranking organization, 35 Virginia hospitals earned “A” grades. Also in the Spring, Healthgrades named 21 Virginia hospitals as 2017 “Patient Safety Excellence Award” recipients. And nine Virginia hospitals earned 2017 Healthgrades “Outstanding Patient Experience Awards.”

About VHHA: The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is an alliance of 111 hospitals and 29 health delivery systems that develops and advocates for sound health care policy in the Commonwealth. Its vision is to achieve excellence in both health care and health. Its vision is through the power of collaboration to be recognized as a driving force behind making Virginia the healthiest state in the nation. Connect with VHHA through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and

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Julian Walker
Vice President of Communications
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