Improving Patient Decision-Making: South Atlantic Region

A 2012 Dartmouth Atlas Report

In this Dartmouth Atlas report, the third 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 South Atlantic region (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia) 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 Savannah, Georgia, you are half as likely to undergo balloon angioplasty than if you live in Gainesville, Florida, and more than twice as likely to undergo back surgery than if you live in Rockville, Maryland. If you have osteoarthritis of the knee and live in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, you are nearly three times more likely to have your knee replaced than if you live in Miami Beach.

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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Mastectomy rate in Salisbury, Md., 0.3 per 1,000. In Tallahassee, Florida, 1.4.