Commonwealth Fund scores state health systems: 6 things to know

The Commonwealth Fund issued its 2017 "Scorecard on State Health System Performance," which demonstrates how almost all state health systems improved on some 44 indicators of health between 2013 and 2015.

Here are six things to know about the report's findings.

1. The report evaluates and ranks health systems in 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 44 health indicators across four dimensions: access and affordability, prevention and treatment, potentially avoidable hospital use and cost and healthy lives.

2. The 2017 scorecard measures changes between 2013 and 2015, during which health insurance coverage was expanded under the ACA. The report found states that expanded Medicaid witnessed the largest increases in care access and insurance gains. However, not all health indicators were improved, as premature death rates rose slightly in nearly two-thirds of the states.

3. The report found on average the highest ranked states performed three times better across all measures than the lowest ranked states.

4. Vermont is the highest ranked state, followed by Minnesota, Hawaii, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Mississippi is the lowest ranked state, followed by Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama. 

5. California, Colorado, Kentucky, New York and Washington witnessed large jumps in ranking. New York ranked among the top-performing states for the first time.  

6. The report states that while "the most pervasive improvements in health system performance occurred where policymakers and health system leaders created programs, incentives or collaborations to ensure access to care and improve the quality and efficiency of care," the presence of "wide performance variation across states, as well as persistent disparities by race and economic status within states, are clear signals that our nation is a long way from offering everyone an equal opportunity for a long, healthy and productive life."  

For more findings, see the full report here.  

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