Health measurement

New County Health Rankings highlights housing, health link

The 2019 County Health Rankings and Roadmap report was released this week, and this year the rankings are focusing attention on the link between health and housing (Source: “Stable housing a key factor in improving health in Ohio’s counties,” Columbus Dispatch, March 19, 2019).

The 2019 County Health Rankings are the ninth iteration of the rankings, with data compiled for every county in the U.S. by researchers with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

“We know that a safe and secure and affordable place to call home is a critical foundation for good health,” said Karen Odegaard, an associate researcher at the Population Health Institute.

The cost of housing plays a significant role, especially with low-income families and people of color who are disproportionately burdened, she said.

Housing was one of four focus areas in “A New Approach to Reduce Infant Mortality and Achieve Equity,” a report HPIO published in late 2017 under contract with the Legislative Services Commission.

First-ever Ohio child health assessment unveiled

The Ohio Children's Hospital Association unveiled the first Assessment of Child Health and Health Care in Ohio at the Vote for Ohio Kids forum held in Columbus last week (Source: “Report: Ohio needs to do more to tackle challenges affecting children’s health,” Columbus Dispatch, Sept. 27, 2018).

The report was developed by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio. The Assessment will be used, OCHA said, as a starting place for a child-focused health policy agenda for Ohio's next governor and General Assembly. 

Informed by a multi-sector advisory committee, the Assessment found that Ohio ranked in the bottom half of states on 65 percent of child health metrics with national ranking data.

The report was created to provide a single, comprehensive, objective assessment of child health in Ohio that identifies top child health priority areas, policy goals and evidence-based strategies to move the needle on child health. The Assessment calls for a comprehensive approach to child health, with public and private sector leadership from a wide variety of entities including policymakers, healthcare providers, insurers, schools, community-based organizations and the support of parents, caregivers and families. 

Findings in the Assessment were informed by:

  • Analysis of 58 child health specific metrics
  • Review of local health department and children's hospital community health planning documents
  • Healthcare utilization and cost data on young Ohioans from the Ohio Department of Medicaid and the Ohio Hospital Association
  • Feedback from a multi-sector advisory committee of pediatric clinicians, experts and advocates

County Health Rankings spotlight link between health and wealth in Ohio

The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released the latest edition of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps this week (Source: “Wealth means health in Ohio rankings,” Columbus Dispatch via Canton Repository, March 15, 2018).  

Once again the counties rated the healthiest in Ohio were also among the state’s most affluent. Delaware County was the healthiest county in Ohio in 2017, a title it has held for eight of the nine years that the rankings have been issued.

Four of the five healthiest counties are affluent suburban areas. The bottom five, with Adams ranked the lowest at No. 88, are among Ohio’s most impoverished Appalachian counties. In a statement accompanying the release of the national report Wednesday, RWJF’s president acknowledged the clear link between poverty, other social factors and poor health outcomes.

“We can’t be a healthy, thriving nation if we continue to leave entire communities and populations behind,” said Dr. Richard Besser, the foundation’s president and CEO.

This year’s report also shows that gaps in health persist not only based on geography, but also by race and ethnicity. HPIO recently launched a new resource page on health equity. The web page is the first in a series of health equity products that HPIO, through support from County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, will be releasing throughout 2018 to bridge the gap in knowledge and understanding of the issue.

Ohio near bottom in national wellbeing ranking

Ohio once again ranks near the bottom in a national scorecard of health and wellbeing (Source: “Ohio ranks low on wellness survey,” Dayton Daily News,  Feb. 14, 2018) 

Using a survey of more than 2.5 million Americans, The Well-Being Index ranks states based on factors such as whether its residents like what they do every day; have supportive relationships, financial security and a positive community environment; and report having good health.

Ohio ranks sixth from the bottom among the 50 states. South Dakota ranks No. 1 and West Virginia has the lowest ranking.

The overall score for the U.S. on the index dropped in 2017 from 2016. The report said it is the largest year-over-year decline in the 10-year history of the the index and no state showed statistically significant improvement compared to the previous year.

Ohio ranks 46th in latest HPIO Health Value Dashboard

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio this week released the latest edition of its Health Value Dashboard, which ranks states and the District of Columbia on a combination of population health and healthcare spending metrics. According to the Dashboard, Ohio ranks 46th in the nation in health value.

The Dashboard is unique in its emphasis on "health value," rather than on population health outcomes alone. No other national rankings factor in the impact of healthcare spending. The Dashboard also takes a more comprehensive approach in looking at health by evaluating social, economic and physical environments - which are significant contributors to overall health. The Dashboard provides in-depth data on 118 metrics.

The HPIO Health Value Dashboard shows that Ohioans live less healthy lives (43rd in population health) and spend more on health care (31st in healthcare spending) than other states.

The 2017 Health Value Dashboard is the second edition of the rankings. HPIO released its first Dashboard in late 2014. Ohio ranked 47th in health value in the inaugural edition.

2016 state health assessment draft released

The Governor’s Office of Health Transformation and the Ohio Department of Health today released a draft of the 2016 state health assessment.

The state health assessment is a comprehensive and actionable picture of health and wellbeing in Ohio. The purpose of the state health assessment is to:

  • Inform identification of priorities for the upcoming state health improvement plan
  • Provide a template for state agencies and local partners (uniform set of categories and metrics to use in related assessments)

The report includes information from several sources in order to provide a comprehensive picture of health and wellbeing in Ohio. Using existing data, this document presents data profiles on health outcomes and a broad range of factors that impact health outcomes, healthcare spending and disparities. These data profiles are followed by summaries of new information collected for this assessment, including qualitative information gathered through key informant interviews and regional forums. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio was commissioned to facilitate the state health assessment process and produce the publication.

The public is invited to provide input on the state health assessment until noon on July 5, 2016.

The final state health assessment is expected to be released later this summer, followed by the release of the 2016 state health improvement plan later this year.

Hospital medical errors now third leading cause of death in U.S., study finds

A national study released this week found that medical errors in hospitals may now be the third leading cause of death in the United States (Source: “Researchers: Medical errors now third leading cause of death in United States,” Washington Post,  May 3, 2016).

The study, which was published in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal), estimated that medical errors in hospitals cost 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who led the research, said in an interview that the category includes everything from bad doctors to more systemic issues such as communication breakdowns when patients are handed off from one department to another.

“It boils down to people dying from the care that they receive rather than the disease for which they are seeking care,” Makary said. “The CDC should update its vital statistics reporting requirements so that physicians must report whether there was any error that led to a preventable death.”

“We all know how common it is,” he said. “We also know how infrequently it’s openly discussed.”

Ohio Medicaid releases report cards for managed-care plans

Medicaid officials released this week the state’s first report card of managed-care plans (Source: “State releases report card on Medicaid's managed-care plans,” Columbus Dispatch, Aug. 18, 2015).

Each of the state’s five Medicaid managed-care plans received one, two or three stars in each of five categories on the scorecard: access to care; doctors’ communication and service; keeping kids healthy; helping those living with chronic illness; and women’s care.

Of the 3 million Ohioans enrolled in tax-funded Medicaid, about 80 percent are in managed care, served by one of five plans.

“The idea was to present individuals, when they have to pick a managed-care plan, some kind of data so they can select a plan,” said Ohio Medicaid Director John McCarthy.

“It’s our first attempt at transparency and creates some healthy competition” among plans, McCarthy added.

HPIO releases latest “Voices on Value” commentary

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released the latest addition to its Voices on Value commentary series. The new commentary is written by Jennifer Chubinski, Director of Community Research at Interact for Health, who explores what Ohio would have to do to surpass Hawaii as the No. 1 state for health value. 

In conjunction with the release of its 2014 Health Value Dashboard, HPIO is asking prominent health policy experts from Ohio and across the country to submit brief commentary on the Dashboard and the importance of measuring and improving health value.

The Institute plans to periodically post new commentaries in order to further conversation on health value and maintain awareness of the Dashboard.

HPIO launches “Voices on Value” commentary series

In conjunction with the release of its 2014 Health Value Dashboard, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio is asking prominent health policy experts from Ohio and across the country to submit brief commentary on the Dashboard and the importance of measuring and improving health value.

The Institute plans to periodically post new commentaries in order to further conversation on health value and maintain awareness of the Dashboard. The first commentary is below.

The inaugural commentary, which was written by Yousuf J. Ahmad, Senior Vice President, System Development at Mercy Health, was published today.

HPIO also has posted a video recording of the webinar it hosted last week introducing users to the Dashboard.