Consumer Reports publishes new primary care physician group ratings for 8 states

Consumer Reports magazine has published primary care physician group ratings for California, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan's greater Detroit area, Minnesota, Ohio's greater Columbus area, Washington and Wisconsin.

The magazine notes the depth of the ratings varies by state due to differences in the information available. "It's an important step in bringing this information directly to consumers," John Santa, MD, a medical consultant for Consumer Reports, told the magazine. "But it also shows how hard it is to rate doctors and how far we still have to go."

Publishing these ratings is part of the nationwide push to arm patients with the information they need to make educated decisions on their healthcare providers.

The ratings provided by the magazine focus on the physician group level, rather than the individual level. This is because more physicians tend to work together in small practices and combining their performance data helps provide more statistically meaningful results, according to the report. It was also done this way because patients often see multiple providers within a practice, Consumer Reports noted.

The ratings are based on how well primary care physician groups provide evidence-based care for common health issues such as back pain, diabetes and heart disease. The depth of information varies based on state reporting requirements, according to the report. States like Minnesota, which has required physicians to publicly share performance information since 2010, has information on almost all of its primary care providers. However, Massachusetts only has available information on physicians who accept insurance from the state's five largest commercial payers, and California only has information on physicians affiliated with HMOs, according to the report.  

Find links to the ratings here.


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