/Premature Death Rising: Stakeholders Combat Challenges

Premature Death Rising: Stakeholders Combat Challenges


America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, now in its 28th year, provides a holistic view of the health of the nation and of each state by analyzing 35 measures of behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data. The rise of premature death is a concern shared by health care professionals, payers, and leadership as well as their members.

The report finds increases in the rates for three key mortality indicators.

  • The premature death rate increased for the third year in a row. The rate increased by 3% from 2015. Premature death is defined as the years of potential life lost before age 75.
  • In the past year, the rate of drug deaths continued an upward trend, increasing by 7% to its highest level ever as measured by the America’s Health Rankings Annual Report.
  • Cardiovascular deaths increased for the second consecutive year, with the rate among African Americans significantly higher than the rate among whites, Hispanic- and Asian-Americans, and Native Americans.

 Even Healthy States Are Experiencing Increases in Mortalitypremature death

Increases in key mortality indicators are being felt even in the nation’s healthiest states.

  • In the past five years, some of the healthiest states by overall rank have experienced large increases in drug death rates, including New Hampshire (a 118% increase, with an additional 13-plus deaths per 100,000 people), Rhode Island (a 56% increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people) and Massachusetts (a 69% increase, with an additional 8-plus deaths per 100,000 people).
  • In the past five years, Utah (ranked as the fourth healthiest state) experienced one of the largest increases in the rate of cardiovascular deaths (10%, with additional 21-plus deaths per 100,000 people).

 Continued Variation in the Concentration of Health Care Providers

The wide variation in health care providers across the country may contribute to differences in overall health.

  • The state with the highest concentration of mental health care providers, Massachusetts, has six times the number of mental health care providers than the state with the least amount, Alabama.
    • Massachusetts has 547 care providers per 100,000 people vs. Alabama, which has 85 care providers per 100,000 people.
  • There is also a significant variation in primary care physicians, with a nearly two-to-one ratio between the states with the highest and lowest concentrations.
    • Rhode Is
    • land, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut have more than 200 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, compared to fewer than 100 physicians per 100,000 people in Utah and Idaho.

“This report serves as an important tool for health care professionals, policymakers, and communities in their collaborative efforts to address these challenges, and help build healthier communities across the nation,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation, and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions. “This is a call to action for each of us to make changes in our own lifestyles that can help improve our overall health and well-being.”

America’s health is challenged by the rise of premature death and uneven concentration of health care providers. Payers and healthcare leaders strive to build healthier communities across the nation. Payers understand the importance of engaging and educating their members. Click to learn more about the many ways BHM helps meet member expectation.

 

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