Dartmouth Data: Primary Care Alone Won't Fix Nation's Health Woes

So today we learn from the Medicare number-crunchers up in Hanover, NH that simply gaining access to primary care doctors isn't good enough — you've got to find high-quality care, and an integrated system that offers support from a range of other providers (see my post on a Boston non-profit that deploys an intense primary care network to reduce hospitalizations among the chronically ill and elderly.)

McAllen, Texas leads U.S in leg amputations
McAllen, Texas leads U.S in leg amputations

NPR's health blog sums up the key findings succinctly:

Leg amputation capital of the country: McAllen, Texas (3.29 per 1,000 — paging Dr. Gawande!).

Lowest rate of seeing a primary care clinician at least once a year: Bronx, N.Y. (60.2 percent).

Blacks least likely to see a primary care clinician: Olympia, Wash. (42.9 percent, half the rate of whites there).

Lowest mammogram rate: Chicago. (50.1 percent — potential campaign issue for a mayoral candidate?)

This program aired on September 9, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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