Health value

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


Earlier this summer, public health nonprofit the Truth Initiative released a new report on “Tobacco Nation,” the 12 contiguous states (including Ohio) that have smoking rates that are 50% higher than the national average. This list of states overlaps substantially with the states ranked in the bottom quartile for population health in HPIO's 2023 Health Value Dashboard. In fact, 11 of the 13 bottom quartile states are part of Tobacco Nation, as illustrated above.

Analysis from HPIO has found a strong link between smoking rates and overall population health and healthcare spending. Ohio reports higher rates of adult smoking than most other states (ranking near the bottom at 44th) and Dashboard analysis “found a strong correlation between adult smoking and health value, indicating that tobacco use is a leading driver of poor health and higher healthcare spending.” 

Previous analysis by HPIO also supports the link between tobacco use, population health and healthcare spending, “States with a lower adult smoking rate are more likely to have a better health value rank— meaning better population health outcomes and lower healthcare spending,” the analysis found.

All of HPIO’s work related to tobacco is available on the Institute’s website.

Census Bureau: U.S. child poverty spikes following end of pandemic relief

The poverty rate in the U.S. has risen dramatically in the year since pandemic benefits ran out — and the child poverty rate has more than doubled, according to U.S. Census Bureau's annual data on poverty, income and health insurance released Tuesday (Source: “Child poverty more than doubles — a year after hitting record low, Census data shows,” NPR, Sept. 12).

Just a year ago, child poverty hit a historic low of 5.2%. The latest Census Bureau figures put it at 12.4%, the same as the overall poverty rate. The surge happened as record inflation was rising and a lot of pandemic relief was running out, but Census officials and other experts say a key was the child tax credit.

In 2021, Congress increased the amount of the credit as part of the American Rescue Plan and expanded eligibility to include millions more families with low incomes.

When the tax credit ended, surveys found many parents had trouble paying bills and covering basic expenses like rent and groceries.

Graphic of the week

HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard found that one way health value in Ohio can be improved is by fostering mental well-being. Ohio leaders can build on lessons learned from the response to the addiction crisis over the past decade to make Ohio a national leader in behavioral health.

Dashboard data shows that rates of overdose deaths and suicides vary by county (as illustrated above). To support resilience, well-being and recovery in Ohio, the state can target and tailor resources where they are needed most.
“Across the U.S. and in Ohio, the toll of behavioral health crises continues to rise, including increases in drug overdose and suicide deaths,” according to the Dashboard. However, the state does have strengths upon which to address the issue. “The state has also improved overall access to care over the past decade, which is an important advantage to getting more Ohioans the help they need.”

Graphic of the week

With wildfire smoke from Canada causing air quality warnings in many states, data from HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard shows that Ohio was already lagging behind most other states on metrics related to outdoor air pollution (as displayed in the graphic above).
Inhaling polluted air (e.g., wildfire smoke), even in amounts lower than current National Ambient Air Quality Standards, increases the likelihood of poor health outcomes. Longer exposure to polluted air further increases negative health outcomes, which include effects on:

  • Maternal and infant health
  • Lung, heart and cognitive conditions
  • Cancers

 Analysis of Dashboard data finds that the physical environment, which includes outdoor air quality, has a stronger correlation with the overall health of a state than access to care. This suggests that improving environmental conditions, like air quality, can improve the health and well-being of Ohioans.

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.

HPIO releases latest Health Value Dashboard


The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released the latest edition of its biennial Health Value Dashboardwhich found that Ohio ranks 44 on heath value compared to other states and D.C. (as displayed in the graphic above).

That means that Ohioans are living less healthy lives and spending more on health care than people in most other states.

The Dashboard is designed for policymakers and other public- and private-sector leaders to examine Ohio’s performance relative to other states, track change over time and identify and explore health disparities and inequities in Ohio. The report also highlights evidence-informed strategies that can be implemented to improve Ohio’s performance.

With more than 100 data metrics, the report can be a valuable tool as Ohio’s leaders continue to develop the state’s biennial budget over the next two months.

In the fifth edition of the Dashboard, HPIO identified three specific areas of strengths on which Ohio can build to create opportunities for improved health value in the state:

  • Strengthen Ohio’s workforce: Ohio can build upon recent success in attracting employers in high-growth industries to strengthen the workforce and reduce poverty
  • Foster mental well-being: Ohio can build upon expertise with, and community response to, the addiction crisis to become a national leader in behavioral health
  • Improve healthcare effectiveness: Ohio can build upon strengths in access to care to reinvigorate approaches to improving outcomes and controlling healthcare spending

Graphic of the week


Policy changes made in Ohio over the last decade that have expanded access to care also reduced the gap between Black and white Ohioans who report going without care due to cost, as displayed in the graphic above.

As Ohio observes Minority Health Month in April, it is clear that although progress has been made, there is still work to be done to eliminate health disparities. In HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard, which will be released in late April, the Institute found that if the racial gap in ability to pay for health care was fully closed, nearly 45,000 more Black Ohioans would not experience financial barriers to care.

HPIO is hosting a forum from 10:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. on Monday, May 1, focused on the release of the 2023 Dashboard. The event will be held in-person at the Grand Event Center in Grandview/Columbus. Throughout the forum, we will celebrate HPIO’s 20th anniversary. In appreciation of all of our supporters and partners, we will host a reception immediately following the forum, from 4 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. The last day to register is Friday, April 21, 2023.

Fifth edition of HPIO's Health Value Dashboard to be released at forum on May 1, 2023

Join us on Monday, May 1, 2023, from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., for the release of the fifth edition of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio’s biennial Health Value Dashboard. 

The Dashboard lays a foundation for tracking Ohio’s progress towards health value – a composite measure of Ohio’s performance on population health outcomes and healthcare spending, and examines Ohio’s rank and trend performance relative to other states.

Speakers will discuss key findings from the Dashboard and provide evidence-informed strategies that can lead to improved population health, equity and reduced healthcare spending. 

For more details and to register, click here.

Throughout the forum, we will also celebrate HPIO’s 20th anniversary! In appreciation of all of our supporters and partners, we will host a reception immediately following the forum, from 4 p.m.- 5:30 p.m.