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Delaware’s fourth annual benchmark trend report on health care delivers mixed results

Delaware’s fourth annual benchmark trend report on health care shows both positives and negatives in the First State.

The 2022 report outlines progress and priorities to reduce the economic burden of health care spending and improving quality measures.

While per capita health care spending increased over 6% which outpaced the 3% growth rate benchmark, the results of the quality measures produced a mixed bag.

Improvement was seen in use of opioids at high dosages and statin therapy for cardiovascular disease patients.

But opioid related deaths were well above the benchmark in 2022, and increased from 2021.

Adult obesity was also above its benchmark by 6%, and increased from 2021 - a trend that worries Steven Costantino, director of health care reform for the Department of Health and Social Services.

"That's one that I have a lot of concern about because obviously it's related to diabetes it's obviously related to cardiovascular disease it just affects so many other chronic diseases that I really think we probably have to do a lot more in interventions in prevention in terms of the obesity issue," said Costantino.

Another concern was cervical cancer screening which didn’t hit the benchmark especially in the Medicaid population as did breast cancer screening for Medicaid patients.

Colorectal cancer screening was among the positives, exceeding the benchmark for commercial insurance patients. The same was true for breast cancer screenings.

Costantino says while health care spending up over 6% - it’s not showing on the quality side of the report.

"So we're seeing a disconnect in spending tied to the quality. So what does that mean? I think what we trying to do as policy majors is how do we influence providers and payers in maybe potentially changing the way we approach certain issues," said Costantino.

There were nine areas analyzed by age, gender and race/ethnicity.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.