Health disparities

Upcoming HPIO forum to explore economic benefits of eliminating racial disparities and inequities

Join HPIO on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., for an online forum to explore how Ohio can grow its workforce, increase consumer spending, strengthen communities and reduce fiscal pressures on state and local budgets.

This forum will take a closer look at HPIO's recent brief, "Unlocking Ohio’s economic potential: The impact of eliminating racial disparities on Ohio businesses, governments and communities." Speakers will discuss the factors that contribute to racial disparities in Ohio, offer data and insight about the economic benefits Ohio could gain by eliminating disparities and provide examples of actions Ohioans can take to eliminate racism, improve health and increase economic vitality.

For more information and to register, click here.

Updated HPIO analysis finds deaths among working-age Ohioans still much higher than 15 years ago


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Updated analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that working-age Ohioans are dying at a much higher rate than they were 15 years ago, despite a drop in deaths in 2022 as the state emerged from the pandemic.

The analysis, which is compiled in a new data snapshot, “Death Trends among Working-age Ohioans,” found that the number of deaths among working-age Ohioans increased 32% from 2007 to 2022, from 25,885 to 34,146, as illustrated above. If the annual number of deaths had remained constant since 2007, 66,637 fewer working-age Ohioans would have died.

“These mostly preventable deaths have a tremendous impact on Ohio families, communities and society,” according to the data snapshot. “In addition, the loss of a large number of working-age adults negatively affects Ohio’s economy and businesses.”

The leading cause of death for working-age adults remains unintentional injuries, which included unintentional drug overdoses and motor vehicle crashes.

“Unintentional drug overdose deaths continue to play a major role in Ohio’s increased death rate, accounting for 14% of all deaths among Ohioans ages 15-64 in 2022,” the analysis found.

The analysis concludes that “There are many effective strategies to address substance use, promote mental health and support access to healthy food and physical activity, all of which can help reduce deaths among working-age Ohioans… Public and private partners can work together to ensure more Ohio workers have the opportunity to live a healthy and productive life.”

Graphic of the week

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September is National Hispanic Heritage Month, and analysis from HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard has found that the uninsured rate for Hispanic Ohioans is 2.5 times worse than for white Ohioans, and Hispanic Ohioans are 2.4 times more likely than white Ohioans to be unable to see a doctor due to cost. If disparities were eliminated, 23,892 fewer Hispanic Ohioans would be uninsured and 32,000 fewer Hispanic Ohioans would face cost barriers to seeing a doctor, according to Dashboard analysis.

Included in the Dashboard are equity profiles, which explore gaps in outcomes among groups of Ohioans and analyze the barriers to health that contribute to these gaps. “Every Ohioan should have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, free from environments and experiences that expose them to harm,” the report states. “However, many Ohioans continue to face unhealthy conditions and barriers to health in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities.”

Speaking at HPIO forum, former Ohio legislators urge continued focus on reducing infant mortality

Speaking last week at an online forum hosted by HPIO, two former legislators who worked to bring the problem of Ohio’s high infant mortality rate to the forefront urged the state to do more (Source: “Former legislators join call to action on infant mortality in Ohio,” Ohio Capital Journal, Aug. 21).
Former Democratic state senator Charleta Tavares and former Republican senator Shannon Jones were a bipartisan duo who spent 2017 getting Senate Bill 332 through the General Assembly. The bill directed the Legislative Service Commission to work with the Health Policy Institute of Ohio on a new approach to addressing infant mortality.
“If we don’t do something as a state, we’re never going to see the changes for infants and moms, but also for the state of Ohio,” Tavares said of her motivation for prioritizing the issue.
Getting the public, along with policymakers and providers, to connect the health issues with outside impacts such as housing, transportation, and the systemic racism that still exists within state institutions, is important in driving home the need for policy changes, according to Jones and Tavares.
“There is not a Staples ‘easy’ button when it comes to advocacy, I think you just have to be relentless,” Jones said. “…This has been 10 years since I’ve been talking about it and I’m way late to the party, so I don’t know what it’s going to take.”
For those who were unable to attend the event, a recording of the forum can be found on HPIO’s website.

Ohio could add $79 billion annually to its economy by eliminating racial disparities, HPIO analysis finds


The Health Policy Institute of Ohio today released new analysis that found that if Ohio eliminated racial disparities, by 2050 the state could gain $79 billion in economic output each year, an increase of 10% over current gross state product. 

Titled “Unlocking Ohio’s Economic Potential: The Impact of Eliminating Racial Disparities on Ohio Businesses, Governments and Communities,” the analysis is a first-of-its-kind look at the economic potential associated with eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in Ohio, as illustrated in the graphic above.  

“Beyond the substantial impacts on people and communities of color across Ohio, disparities in outcomes, such as life expectancy and overall health status, represent missed economic opportunities for Ohio businesses, governments and communities,” the report finds. “By eliminating racial disparities, leaders in Ohio can grow the workforce, increase consumer spending, strengthen communities and reduce fiscal pressures on state and local budgets.”   

The report also includes recommended action steps and examples of how states, counties and municipalities across the country are implementing policies to reduce disparities. 

“Ohioans of all ages and from all sectors, communities and backgrounds can take meaningful steps to dismantle systemic racism and improve the health and economic vitality of the state,” according to the report. 

Support for this project was provided by bi3, Interact for Health, The Columbus Foundation and HPIO’s other core funders

Study: Maternal mortality more than doubled in U.S. since 1999, highest among Black women

The number of U.S. women who died within a year after pregnancy more than doubled between 1999 and 2019, with the highest death rates among Black women, researchers said this week (Source: “U.S. maternal mortality more than doubled since 1999, most deaths among Black women, study says,” Reuters, July 3).

There were an estimated 1,210 maternal deaths in 2019, compared with 505 in 1999, according to a study published in the medical journal JAMA.

The number of deaths per 100,000 live births rose from 12.7 to 32.2 overall, from 26.7 to 55.4 among Black women, 14.0 to 49.2 among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 9.6 to 20.9 among Asians, Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders, 9.6 to 19.1 among Hispanics, and 9.4 to 26.3 among whites, they estimated.

Joint Commission announces voluntary health equity certification for hospitals

The Joint Commission is kicking off a new advanced, voluntary certification for hospitals with processes in place to address healthcare disparities and promote equity among staff, the accreditation organization announced this week (Source: “Joint Commission unveils voluntary health equity certification, strengthens existing standard,” Fierce Healthcare, June 28).
Effective July 1, hospitals and critical access hospitals accredited by the organization or in compliance with applicable federal laws will be able to apply for the group’s Health Care Equity Certification Program. An abbreviated pre-application questionnaire may be submitted prior to July 1.
The Joint Commission has also launched a curated resource center for organizations seeking to pursue the certification, which includes strategies, toolkits, templates, videos and synopses of the requirements.

HPIO releases transportation action guide to address Ohio’s infant mortality rate

TransportationActionGuideFig2_StandaloneThe Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released an action guide that highlights policy options for improving transportation, one of the social drivers of infant mortality in Ohio. 

HPIO recently produced the Social Drivers of Infant Mortality: Recommendations for Action and Accountability in Ohio report as an update to the 2017 A New Approach to Reduce Infant Mortality and Achieve Equity report.
The action guide takes a closer look at the transportation recommendations in the Action and Accountability report and provides state and local health stakeholders with additional information and tools to support next steps.

The guide highlights how transportation affects health and overall well-being in several ways, including by impacting access to care, health behaviors and health outcomes through the ability to get to health care, jobs, school, child care, social services, grocery stores, parks, libraries and other destinations. As illustrated above, Ohioans who are insured through Medicaid face particular challenges with avoiding or delaying care due to a lack of transportation.

Earlier this spring, HPIO released similar action guides on housing and education. In the coming weeks, HPIO plans to release guides on employment and eliminating racism.
The guide and additional tools posted on HPIO’s website can be used to prioritize, advocate for and implement the recommendations.

Study: Racial disparities persist even at highest-rated hospital systems

Even the highest-performing hospitals see racial health disparities in adverse patient safety events, according to a new report (Source: “Even At Top Hospitals, Racial Health Disparities in Patient Safety Are Steep,” Patient Engagement HIT, June 7).
The report from the Leapfrog Group and Urban Institute showing that, regardless of a hospital’s rating in the Leapfrog Group’s scorecard, white patients were less likely to experience an adverse patient safety event than their Black and Hispanic peers.
The consistency of health disparities across all hospital rating grades indicates that the Leapfrog Group reports “cannot be used to convey information on the underlying disparity in safe inpatient care,” the researchers said. That means patients who fall into the groups facing more adverse events may need additional tools to help with care access decision-making.

Graphic of the week


HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard includes, for the first time, an equity profile for LGBTQ+ Ohioans. Among the data highlighted in the profile is that LGBTQ+ adults in Ohio are much more likely to be diagnosed with depression than their heterosexual and/or cisgender peers, as displayed above.

Homophobia and transphobia are primary drivers of poor outcomes experienced by LGBTQ+ Ohioans, the Dashboard states. Experiencing these forms of discrimination can cause toxic stress, leading to poor health outcomes over time. Thus, LGBTQ+ Ohioans often experience worse outcomes than heterosexual and/or cisgender Ohioans across measures of health and the social environment. Policies and practices that limit access to necessary health care and a lack of protections for Ohioans based on sexual orientation and gender identity contribute to worse health outcomes for LGBTQ+ people compared to their heterosexual and/or cisgender peers.

As national celebrations begin for Pride Month, it is important to note that there are evidence-informed strategies that Ohio leaders can adopt to improve health disparities for LGBTQ+ Ohioans. By ensuring access to developmentally appropriate care, improving provider education and including sexual orientation and gender identity in anti-discrimination laws, Ohio can close gaps in health outcomes for LGBTQ+ Ohioans.