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Quality of Illinois' Health Care Low Compared to Nation

A report recently released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranked Illinois 35th nationwide in terms of its health care quality.

The rankings for the 2011 National Healthcare Quality Report were based on numerous quality metrics and access to healthcare for specific groups. According to the report, the quality of health care in the United States is generally "suboptimal," with a marked decline in quality for minorities and those with little income.

One of the areas in which Illinois ranked lowest was the percentage of high-risk, long-term nursing home residents who suffered from bed sores - Illinois ranked 48th nationwide. Bed sores, or pressure ulcers, develop when there is extended pressure on the skin, and often affect nursing home residents who are unable to change positions on their own. If nursing home staff do not move these residents frequently enough, at-risk residents can develop these painful sores, which can be difficult to treat.

Among other poor rankings, Illinois was 41st for the number of breast cancer deaths and 50th for diabetics over 40 who got a flu shot in the past year.

The report used 150 quality metrics to establish the rankings. Last year, Illinois received a grade of "worse than average" in 55 of those categories.

According to the executive director of a non-profit public health organization in Chicago, "Health care services generally in Illinois tend to be more fragmented, not well coordinated."

Illinois has ranked towards the bottom of the pack during the past three years: in 2009, it ranked 39th and in 2010, 34th nationwide.

For those who have received below average care from an Illinois doctor or hospital, legal remedies may be available. Discussing the case with a skilled personal injury attorney will clarify what course of action is best to take.

Source: Crain's Chicago Business, "Illinois ranks 35th in nation for health care quality," Kristen Schorsch, July 5, 2012.

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