New York, NY, November 13, 2008Compared to patients in seven other countries, chronically ill adults in the United States are far more likely to forgo care because of costs; they also experience the highest rates of medical errors, coordination problems, and high out-of-pocket costs, according to a new study from The Commonwealth Fund. Published today as a Web Exclusive in the journal Health Affairs, the eight-country survey finds that U.S. patients are significantly more likely to call for fundamental change in their country's health care system, with a third saying the system needs to be rebuilt completely.
The 2008 survey of 7,500 chronically ill patients in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States included adults who had a diagnosis of at least one of seven chronic conditions.
More than half (54%) of U.S. chronically ill patients did not get recommended care, fill prescriptions, or see a doctor when sick because of costs, compared to 7 to 36 percent in other countries. About one-third of U.S. patientsa higher rate than in any other country experienced medical errors or poorly coordinated care, including delays in access to medical records or duplicated tests. Reflecting cost-sharing as well as gaps in insurance coverage, 41 percent of U.S. patients spent more than $1,000 in the past year on out-of-pocket medical costs, compared with 4 percent in the U.K. and 8 percent in the Netherlands
"The study highlights major problems in our broken health care system and the need to make major changes," said Commonwealth Fund Senior Vice President Cathy Schoen, lead author of the article. "Patients are telling us about inefficient, unsafe and often wasteful care. Moreover, a lack of access as well as poor coordination of care is putting chronically ill patients at even higher health risk."
Access Experiences Vary Widely Across Countries
|Contact: Mary Mahon|