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When it comes to providing consumers with easily accessible information about physician quality, a report out today gave most states grades of ‘D’ or ‘F,’ often because they compile data only about primary care doctors, not specialists.

Washington state and Minnesota were the only states that got an A from the Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute, a nonprofit group that designs programs aiming at boosting health care quality and affordability.  California received a ‘C,’ and the rest of the states got either ‘D’s or ‘F’s. The report scored states on several factors, including the percentage of doctors they rated, whether those ratings included information about patient outcomes and consumer experiences and how easy it was to find them through an Internet search.

Using a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation directory of websites that evaluate health care quality, researchers examined whether the information was current, free to consumers, produced by independent third parties and included a range of physicians, including specialists. Programs that failed to meet any of those criteria were excluded, as were physician “report cards” produced by health insurance companies because “patients distrust quality information coming from their insurance providers,” the report said.

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