Newspaper article

Minnesota Takes Top Ranking on New Health-Performance Scorecard

Newspaper article

Minnesota Takes Top Ranking on New Health-Performance Scorecard

Article excerpt

Minnesota is ranked first among all 50 states and the District of Columbia on the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Fund's Scorecard on State Health Performance, which was released Wednesday.

The scorecard measured 42 health indicators, including insurance coverage, vaccination rates, preventable hospital visits, obesity, suicide rates, smoking rates and cancer deaths from 2007 to 2012 -- just before the major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to be implemented.

That's not to say that Minnesota scored well on all 42 indicators. We ranked 37th, for example, in the category "children ages 19 to 35 months who received all recommended seven doses of vaccines" and 48th in the category "home health patients whose wounds improved or healed after an operation."

Some of Minnesota's scores also worsened during the five years covered by the study. Those categories included "adults who went without care because of cost in the past year," "the risk-adjusted 30-day mortality among Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for heart attack, heart failure or pneumonia," and "children ages 10-17 who are overweight or obese."

But, overall, we did better than any other state -- including neighboring Wisconsin, which ranked seventh overall on the scorecard.

In fact, most states either failed to improve or did worse on 34 of the indicators (the ones for which long-term data is available).

"No state is making widespread progress toward the achievable outcomes that all individuals should expect considering the substantial and increasing resources devoted to health care in the United States," note Douglas McCarthy, a senior research director for the Commonwealth Fund, and two colleagues in a commentary about the scorecard report that appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Indeed, as the report itself points out, annual health-care spending in the United States increased by $491 billion to $2. …

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