Population health

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

Experts draw link between incarceration rates and lower life expectancy in U.S.

While the recent drop in life expectancy has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and a spike in drug overdoses, some academic experts and activists said the trend also underscores the lasting health consequences of mass incarceration (Source: “As US Life Expectancy Falls, Experts Cite the Health Impacts of Incarceration,” Kaiser Health News, April 27).

A major reason the U.S. trails other developed countries in life expectancy is because it has more people behind bars and keeps them there far longer, said Chris Wildeman, a Duke University sociology professor who has researched the link between criminal justice and life expectancy.

Although no one has proven that incarceration alone shortens life expectancy, research from the early 2000s did show the death rate for people leaving prison was 3.5 times higher than for the rest of the population in the first few years after release. Another study found that currently or formerly incarcerated Black people suffered a 65% higher mortality rate than their non-Black peers.

Over the past several years, HPIO has developed several resources exploring the connection between criminal justice and health.

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.

Graphic of the week


New data analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that while Ohio’s rate of traffic deaths has remained below the U.S. over the past decade, fatalities related to drivers operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs have increased 78% in the state from 2017 to 2021 (as illustrated in the graphic above).

The data also shows a spike in fatalities in both Ohio and the U.S. in 2020, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to preliminary research by the federal Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), people who continued to drive during the pandemic may have engaged in riskier behavior including speeding, failure to wear seat belts and driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Ohio ranked 15th in the nation (out of the 50 states and D.C.) in motor vehicle deaths in HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard. HPIO plans to release its 2023 Dashboard in May.

Graphic of the week


New data analysis by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio shows that more Ohioans report having high blood pressure than people in other states (as illustrated in the graphic above).
The analysis also found that hypertension is more common among Black Ohioans and Ohioans with lower incomes, groups that often experience high rates of chronic stress, a leading contributor to high blood pressure.
There is emerging research establishing a link between higher rates of hypertension among African Americans and the chronic stress of discrimination and racism.

According to an HPIO policy brief on the connections between racism and health, “chronic exposure to racism renders communities of color more vulnerable to negative health outcomes across the life span and can lead to early death.”

The data graphic is the second produced by HPIO in February, which is American Heart Month, a designation designed to spotlight heart disease.

Graphic of the week


New data analysis by HPIO shows that Ohio has a higher rate of heart disease mortality than most other states (as illustrated in the graphic above).

The rate in Ohio is 67% higher than Minnesota, the state with the lowest rate.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both Ohio and the U.S., according to CDC data. Last year, HPIO released a Data Snapshot on death trends among working-age Ohioans that found heart disease is also the third-leading cause of death among Ohioans ages 15-64. Ohio ranked 42nd in heart disease in HPIO’s 2021 Health Value Dashboard (the 2023 Dashboard is expected to be released in early May).

February is American Heart Month, a designation designed to spotlight heart disease.

Officials say air quality returns to normal following East Palestine train derailment

In the week since officials conducted what they called a "controlled release" of vinyl chloride from five derailed train cars in East Palestine near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, concern has grown among some over the quality of the air in and around the village of nearly 5,000 people (Source: “Is the air in East Palestine safe to breathe? Here's what experts and officials say,” Columbus Dispatch, Feb. 14).

Some East Palestine residents who have since returned to their homes after being evacuated have reported experiencing headaches and nausea. Others say the air has a foul odor to it.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Director of the Ohio Department of Health, said during a news conference Tuesday that most of the chemicals on the Norfolk Southern train that derailed Feb. 3 are volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are emitted during everyday activities like pumping gas, burning wood or natural gas, he said.

Low levels of VOCs can be smelled and sometimes cause headaches and irritation, said Vanderhoff, who noted that most people can be around VOCs at low levels without feeling ill. High levels can result in longer-term health effects, he said.

Vanderhoff said recent testing shows the air in East Palestine was just like it was prior to the train derailment.

Last month, HPIO released a new Health Value Dashboard fact sheet titled “A closer look at outdoor air pollution and health.” The fact sheet focuses on the importance of clean air and provides additional information on the outdoor air quality metric in the Dashboard.

1 in 8 working-age deaths attributed to alcohol use, CDC study finds

An estimated one in eight deaths of Americans ages 20 to 64 in the years 2015-19 was the result of injuries or illness caused by excessive alcohol use, according to a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: “Alcohol Deaths Claim Lives of Working-Age Americans,” New York Times, Nov. 1).

The study was published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, assessed the effects of alcohol on people of working age, who accounted for nearly two-thirds of the country’s annual average of 140,000 alcohol-related deaths.

The rates of excessive alcohol use and related deaths have most likely climbed since the period of the CDC analysis. After the onset of the pandemic, a variety of data showed Americans drank more frequently, and deaths due to a narrower set of causes attributable to alcohol rose 25% in 2020 over the previous year.

Alcohol is a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, but it is often overshadowed by tobacco or opiates. And its effects on Americans’ health has been growing. Nearly a decade ago, a similar study found one in 10 deaths of working-age people was due to drinking, although researchers have changed the methodology, so a perfect apples-to-apples comparison is not possible.

This summer, HPIO released a Data Snapshot on death trends among working-age Ohioans.

Life expectancy has largest two-year drop in a century, new CDC data shows

The average life expectancy of Americans fell precipitously in 2020 and 2021, the sharpest two-year decline in nearly 100 years and a stark reminder of the toll exacted on the nation by the continuing coronavirus pandemic (Source: “U.S. Life Expectancy Falls Again in ‘Historic’ Setback,” New York Times, Aug. 31).

In 2021, the average American could expect to live until the age of 76, federal health researchers reported on Wednesday. The figure represents a loss of almost three years since 2019, when Americans could expect to live, on average, nearly 79 years.

While the pandemic has driven most of the decline in life expectancy, a rise in accidental deaths and drug overdoses also contributed, as did deaths from heart disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis, the new report found.

Earlier this summer, HPIO released a data snapshot detailing death trends among working-age Ohioans, a major driver of lower life expectancy. “The increasing death rate for working-age Ohioans is part of a long-term trend, starting in the early 2000s, in which Ohio is doing worse than the U.S. overall,” the analysis found.

Cincinnati program that improves family living conditions leads to better child health outcomes, study finds

A new study has found that a child health-law partnership program in Cincinnati that helps improve living conditions for families with children who have chronic conditions has led to a nearly 40% drop in hospital admissions (Source: “Doctor-lawyer advocacy gives Cincinnati area kids better health outcomes, study shows,” Cincinnati Enquirer, March 23).
Child Help, the Cincinnati Child Health-Law Partnership, which was created by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Legal Aid of Greater Cincinnati, has assisted kids in more than 20,000 advocacy cases since the partnership started in 2008. Many of its cases involve kids whose living environment exacerbated chronic health conditions, such as an apartment with mold or cockroaches. Others address evictions that could leave children homeless. And some involve special needs children in schools. Left unheeded, the problems could end in poor health and repeated hospital admissions for children.
A study published March 7 in Health Affairs shows a 38% reduction in the hospitalization rate among children who got Child Help assistance from 2012 through 2017. 
Study co-author Dr. Andrew Beck of Cincinnati Children's division of general and community pediatrics said he wasn't surprised to find a drop in readmissions for the kids who were helped by the partnership. He just didn't know how great the drop would be.
“It reinforces the notion that our surroundings, socioeconomic and social determinants, impact health outcomes," he said. "It highlights the importance of clinical-community partnerships. It shows that support of these programs in new and innovative ways of reimbursing is important.”