HPIO news

Newly released County Health Rankings spotlights connection between income and health

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Newly released data from County Health Rankings show that Black Ohioans have the lowest median household income among groups of Ohioans and have, by far, the highest rate of premature death (years of potential life lost before age 75, which reflects the burden of deaths that potentially could have been prevented).
 
Between 2018 and 2020, Black Ohioans collectively lost 13,374 years of life before turning 75 years old (see graphic above). That is nearly as many years lost as Hispanic (5,858) and white Ohioans (8,224) combined.  At the same time, the median household income for Black Ohioans is $12,352 less than Hispanic Ohioans, $28,065 less than white Ohioans and $43,782 less than Asian Ohioans.
 
“Individual efforts alone cannot overcome the structural barriers that maintain the racial wealth divide,” County Health Rankings states. “Structural barriers include laws, policies, institutional practices, and economic arrangements that create unequal conditions.”
 
The latest edition of the County Health Rankings, released this week, includes a new curated list of strategies to address racial wealth building, a key to eliminating health disparities.
 
“Research shows that income inequality has a negative effect on overall population health,” according to the Rankings. “Economically unequal societies often have higher rates of physical and mental illness, violence, and incarceration.”

Throughout April, HPIO has marked National Minority Health Month by creating a series of data visualizations to illustrate health disparities in Ohio.


Uninsured rate drops for all races in Ohio, with biggest reduction among Asian and Black Ohioans

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The percent of Ohioans who are uninsured dropped by almost half from 12.3% to 6.4% between 2011 and 2019 (see graphic above).

Every race saw a drop in the percent of uninsured, with the percentage of Asian and Black Ohioans dropping most dramatically compared to other groups. Despite these gains in access, however, Ohioans of color are still more likely to be uninsured than white Ohioans.

Much of the drop in Ohio’s uninsured population is attributable to the state’s 2014 decision to expand Medicaid eligibility as part of the Affordable Care Act. In HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard, Ohio ranked seventh out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia for access to care — the first time Ohio has ranked in the top quartile on any Health Value Dashboard domain.

While access is clearly a bright spot for the state, the Dashboard found that Ohio’s population health outcomes remain poor. Access to care is critical, particularly for Ohioans with serious health conditions. But the Dashboard and national research shows that health is shaped by many factors, including social, economic and physical environments.

This April, HPIO is creating a series of data graphics in recognition of National Minority Health Month


Suicide rates for young Ohioans climb, sharpest rise is among Black Ohioans

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While suicide deaths among young Ohioans have risen overall in Ohio over the past two decades, the increase has been sharpest among Black Ohioans. 

In 1999, the suicide rates for both white Ohioans and Black Ohioans ages 10 to 24 were the same: 6.8 per 100,000 people. By 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available), the rate for white Ohioans had risen to 11.2 (an increase of 64%) and the rate for Black Ohioans had risen to 12.8 (an increase of 88%).  

More-recent national research indicates that the disparity in suicide rates may have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Reducing suicide and eliminating disparities are priorities of the Ohio Department of Health’s 2020-2022 State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP). Public- and private-sector leaders can implement strategies identified in the SHIP and Ohio’s 2020-2022 Suicide Prevention Plan, including suicide fatality review boards, behavioral health integration with primary care and education on safe storage of lethal means (i.e., firearms and medications). 

This April, HPIO is spotlighting health disparities in Ohio as part of National Minority Health Month.  

If you or someone you know is experiencing emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, please call the National Suicide Hotline toll-free at 1-800-273-8255


New HPIO fact sheet explores Medicaid enrollment, spending trends during pandemic

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new fact sheet, “Ohio Medicaid Basics Update: Trends in Enrollment and Expenditures During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”
 
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, enrollment in, spending on and federal funding for Ohio Medicaid have increased significantly. Drawing from the foundational information provided in HPIO’s Ohio Medicaid Basics 2021 policy brief, this fact sheet provides information on:

  • Changes to the Medicaid program due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Enrollment changes during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Ohio Medicaid spending during the COVID-19 pandemic

“Ohio policymakers must be agile in their response to new challenges facing Medicaid enrollees as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, including the end of the (public health emergency) and potential loss of Medicaid eligibility for tens of thousands of Ohioans,” the fact sheet concludes. “State policymakers and other stakeholders must also balance the benefits of the Medicaid program with budgetary and administrative challenges to improve health, achieve equity and promote sustainable healthcare spending in Ohio.”


Black women in Ohio 2.2 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes, data shows

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According to the most-recent data, Black women in Ohio are 2.2 times more likely to die from a cause related to pregnancy and have a 1.85 times higher rate of maternal morbidity (i.e., health problems related to pregnancy and childbirth) than white women.
 
Differences in healthcare access and conditions such as housing, transportation and income, as well as the cumulative impacts of toxic stress and discrimination, all contribute to stark disparities in maternal outcomes across the state.
 
Improving maternal health and eliminating disparities are priorities of the Ohio Department of Health’s 2020-2022 State Health Improvement Plan.
 
Next week is the fifth annual Black Maternal Health Week, an event that coincides with National Minority Health Month. As part of its annual recognition of Minority Health Month, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health has released an extensive calendar of events. Throughout the month, HPIO is releasing new data graphics exploring health disparities in the state. More information and resources about health equity in Ohio are available on HPIO’s website.
 
HPIO plans to release a fact sheet on maternal mortality and morbidity in Ohio later this month.


HPIO forum to address Ohio’s health workforce shortages

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is hosting a free online forum on March 24, titled “Charting a Path Forward: Addressing Ohio’s Health Workforce Shortages.”

A strong health workforce is critical for improving health, achieving equity and attaining sustainable healthcare spending in Ohio. Workforce shortages in behavioral health, direct care and public health were a concern at the local, state and national level before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have only gotten worse.

This online forum will explore the causes of the health workforce shortages in Ohio, how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the existing workforce crisis and potential policies and strategies for increasing and diversifying the workforce.

Register here

Speaking for the event include Teresa Lampl, Chief Executive Officer, The Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers; Dr. Michelle Durham, Vice Chair of Education, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center; Ankit Sanghavi, ​Executive Director, Texas Health Institute and Brian Posey, Senior Legislative Representative, AARP.

The event will also include a panel discussion featuring Lori Criss, Director, Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Ursel McElroy, Director, Ohio Department of Aging. 


Reminder: HPIO seeking candidates for policy analyst position

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is seeking applicants for a full-time health policy analyst position. The deadline for applications has been extended to March 7, 2022.

Health policy analysts at HPIO are key members of a highly collaborative team. They use data and research to think critically about complex health challenges and highlight solutions. The mission of HPIO is to advance evidence-informed policies that improve health, advance equity, and lead to sustainable healthcare spending.

Information about specific responsibilities and qualifications for the position, as well as how to apply, are posted on HPIO’s website.


New HPIO fact sheet highlights opportunities for individuals, community groups to support health, well-being of Ohioans of color

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has released a new fact sheet that outlines actions that individuals and community groups can take to support the health and well-being of Ohioans of color.

“Every Ohioan benefits when Ohio is healthy and economically vibrant,” the fact sheet states. “Though all Ohioans deserve the opportunity to be healthy, stark differences in health outcomes signal that not every Ohioan has a fair opportunity for good health.”

This fact sheet, the final in a series of three, outlines actions individuals and community groups can take to support the health and well-being of Ohioans of color. Previous fact sheets provided action steps for state and local policymakers and private sector organizations.


HPIO seeking candidates for policy analyst position

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio is seeking applicants for a full-time health policy analyst position.

Health policy analysts at HPIO are key members of a highly collaborative team. They use data and research to think critically about complex health challenges and highlight solutions. The mission of HPIO is to advance evidence-informed policies that improve health, advance equity, and lead to sustainable healthcare spending.

Information about specific responsibilities and qualifications for the position, as well as how to apply, are posted on HPIO’s website. The deadline for applications is March 4, 2022.


The Health Policy Institute of Ohio announces staff promotions

The Health Policy Institute of Ohio has announced the promotion of four staff members.

Hailey Akah has been promoted to associate vice president; Carrie Almasi is now a senior health policy analyst and Stephen Listisen and Jacob Santiago were both promoted to health policy analyst.

“The committed, creative and talented staff of HPIO is integral to the effectiveness of the organization,” said HPIO President Amy Rohling McGee. “With a small, but outcome-oriented team of 10, we are able to pursue our mission to advance evidence-informed policies that improve health, achieve equity, and lead to sustainable healthcare spending in Ohio.”

Akah has been with HPIO since 2015. In that time, she has developed expertise in several policy areas, including mental health and addiction, criminal justice, employment and aging. She has taken lead roles in developing Ohio’s State Health Improvement Plan, Strategic Action Plan on Aging, Minority Health Strikeforce Blueprint and HPIO’s Addiction Evidence Project.

Almasi joined HPIO in 2020. Prior to joining HPIO, she was an Assistant Vice President at United Way of Central Ohio where she worked to create systemic solutions to poverty.  Listisen and Santiago joined HPIO as staff members in 2020, following internships with the organization.