[IMGCAP(1)] While it´s kind of a "no duh" headline, it is also important to remember. The National Committee for Quality Assurance´s new report shows that New England plans perform better than the average and that South Central plans fall short of the average. What´s more the group notes that HMOs generally score better than PPOs. PPOs trail HMOs significantly in several areas, according to the report, like follow-up after hospitalization for mental illness and persistent beta-blocker treatment after a heart attack.

NCQA urges that any health reform proposal include the following to further reduce disparities in care quality by geography:

-Require routine quality measurement and reporting by all health plans and providers.
-Establish benchmarks for improvement in each region of the country.
-Enact reforms that tie payment to the quality of care delivered.

Cost is also known to vary widely by region. That´s caused some to consider medical tourism. At our recent national conference, I was reminded that doesn't have to mean India as Northeastern residents could fly first class across the country to receive comparable care at a much lower cost. So what are you doing to take advantage of quality and cost disparities to serve your employees and improve your bottom line?

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