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

Still, new research from the influential and sometimes controversial Dartmouth Atlas Project paints a troubling picture of racial and care disparities across the country.

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?)