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Study Ranks Wisconsin 11th In US In Health Care System Performance

Despite High Ranking, Study Shows Areas For Improvement

Hospital hallway
Molly Riley/AP Photo

A new study released by the Commonwealth Fund ranks Wisconsin 11th in the country in overall health system performance.

The study used more than 40 measures from recent and available health data and ranks all 50 states and Washington, D.C. based on five areas: access and affordability to health care, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital costs, healthy living and equity.

The study found obesity rates among adults and infant mortality rates increased in 2016, even though Wisconsin ranked 16th in the United States in the healthy living category. Wisconsin did boast decreases in obesity rates among kids and instances of colorectal and breast cancer, according to the study.

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A community approach has to be taken in order to see improvement in infant mortality and obesity, said Kelly Court, chief quality officer at the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

“We need to create partnerships with the people of Wisconsin and work on things that are overall health,” Court said. “Everyone in Wisconsin plays a role in the rankings.”

The state is consistently a leader in the U.S. when it comes to health care, Court said, but the report found African-Americans in Wisconsin were still nearly three times as likely as whites and Hispanics to die from treatable diseases.

David Radley, one of the study’s authors, said being able to get proper care is key to closing the gap.

“Access to care certainly is important,” Radley said. “To the extent that parts of the African-American population seem to be a little lower by income than whites, that certainly effects their ability to access care and access care early in the progression of disease.”

Radley said the rate of premature deaths among blacks is dropping faster than it is among whites and Hispanics, but the gap still remains too high.