Improving Patient Decision-Making: Mountain States

In this Dartmouth Atlas report, the eighth in a series of nine U.S. regional reports, we show the wide regional variation in the likelihood that patients with similar conditions receive elective procedures. This report highlights the Mountain states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming) and shows the variation across the region and the United States.

For patients whose conditions can be treated with elective surgery, location matters. For example, if you have heart disease and live in Reno, Nevada, you are half as likely to undergo balloon angioplasty than if you live in Las Vegas, and twice as likely to undergo back surgery than if you live in Roswell, New Mexico. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee and live in Bountiful, Utah, you are nearly three times more likely to have your knee replaced than if you live in Santa Fe.

This report, a collaborative project with the Informed Medical Decisions Foundation, looks at the variation in surgical rates in 306 hospital referral regions across the United States (a hospital referral region is a large health care market containing at least one referral hospital).

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Coronary artery bypass grafting rate in Grand Junction, Colo., 1.2 per 1,000. In Ogden, Utah, 4.4.