Do You Work in One of the Worst Healthcare States?

Do you know how your state ranks on a list of the worst healthcare states?

Instead of guessing, you can now find out thanks to WalletHub’s most recent report of the best healthcare systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Researchers in the study came up with 40+ different metrics to compare each state’s healthcare system and weighted each one to create their list of the best healthcare states and the worst of 2018.

So in this guide, we’ll be taking a look at the methodology and highlight the biggest discoveries to help you learn if you work in one of the worst healthcare states (and what you can do about it).

Let’s begin by finding out how the experts compiled their research.

Key Metrics Used To Compare Each State

The researchers in this healthcare report studied states based on three overarching categories:

  1. Cost
  2. Access
  3. Outcome

They then compiled over 40+ metrics within these categories to provide a complete picture of the US healthcare system and compare states on equal ground.

Let’s take a look at a few of those specific metrics in each category:

#1. Cost Assessment Metrics

The cost of healthcare is on the rise and higher-than-average expenses may force insurers to pull out of certain states, which means more uninsured patients at hospitals and your independent emergency physician group’s ER.

So when examining healthcare costs, researchers compared:

  • The average cost of medical visits
  • Average monthly premiums
  • Out-of-pocket medical spending

This category also includes the costs associated with patients who skip seeing their doctors because they can’t afford to keep up with their state’s growing expenses to get care.

The second metric focuses on patient access.

#2. Access Key Metrics

Citizens living in the best healthcare states should have the most access to high-quality healthcare.

However, those living in the worst healthcare states will find it difficult to make appointments with specialists, be seen quickly in the ER, or even get insurance coverage.

So when it comes to healthcare access for all, the researchers measured each state’s:

  • Overall quality of the public hospitals in the area
  • How many beds per capita are in each hospital
  • Transfer time before patients are able to get a bed
  • The number of physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants per capita

They also looked at emergency scenarios, including:

  • EMS response time
  • ER wait time
  • How many EMTs and urgent care facilities are available in each area

Researchers also wanted to know how patient access compared by checking:

  • How easily Medicare and Medicaid are accepted
  • The number of insured adults and children
  • How many adults lack a primary care doctor
  • The availability of telemedicine

Work in one of the best healthcare states, with the availability of telemedicine, low ER wait times, and patients who regularly visit their doctors and you’ll more than likely see better outcomes.

But if you live in one of the worst healthcare states, your outcomes may not show off how hard you’re trying to keep up.

#3. Outcome Measures

How does cost and access to healthcare affect overall patient outcomes?

That’s what researchers wanted to know as they analyzed statistics and outcome rates in each state for:

  • Infant, child, and mother mortality rates
  • The number of readmitted patients
  • The percentage of patients who are discharged without aftercare instructions
  • Life expectancy rates

The patient outcomes of many of the world’s leading causes of death were also compared in this category, such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes rates.

So after reviewing each state and the District of Columbia using these three key healthcare categories — and each of their various sub-metrics — here’s what the researchers uncovered:

The Results:

Top 10 Best Healthcare States

Do You Work In One Of The Worst Healthcare States?

Working in one of these best healthcare states means your patients may have access to specialists, insurance coverage, telemedicine, and much more — so they’re used to having high-quality health care.

As such, these citizens have more options for care and don’t have to rely on the only hospital in town. This means it may be easier to encourage them to visit your independent EM group instead.

What happens if you don’t see your state on that list?

Hopefully it’s not on this one:

The Top 10 Worst Healthcare States in the US

Using those same healthcare metrics, researchers found these to be the worst healthcare states in the US:

Do You Work In One Of The Worst Healthcare States?

Citizens living in the worst healthcare states don’t have the same access to high-quality healthcare or insurance so their costs of care subsequently go up while their outcomes remain very poor.

But there’s more than just the black and white version of the best and the worst healthcare states.

Researchers also found a few nuances to compare even further.

5 More Important Findings In Healthcare Across States

Check out these five specific areas where states either shine or get buried in the dust:


#1: Monthly Premiums

The following states have the highest monthly insurance premiums for their citizens, on average:

  1. Alaska
  2. West Virginia
  3. North Carolina
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Wyoming

And these states currently have the lowest monthly premiums:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Utah
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New Mexico
  5. Nevada

#2: Number Of Physicians Per Capita

You’ll also find the highest number of physicians in the following states:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Rhode Island
  4. New York
  5. Connecticut

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, these states have the fewest physicians:

  1. Utah
  2. Mississippi
  3. Nevada
  4. Wyoming
  5. Idaho

#3: Percentage Of Insured Adults Between The Ages Of 18-64

The states with the highest percentage of insured adults are:

  1. Massachusetts
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Hawaii
  4. Vermont
  5. Minnesota

And you’ll find the lowest number of insured adults living in these states:

  1. Mississippi
  2. Georgia
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Florida
  5. Texas

#4: Rates Of Heart Disease

The highest rates of heart disease can be found in these states:

  1. Alabama
  2. Mississippi
  3. West Virginia
  4. Kentucky
  5. Arkansas

While these five encounter the lowest heart disease rates in the states, on average:

  1. Utah
  2. Alaska
  3. California
  4. Colorado
  5. Vermont

#4: Cancer Rates

Cancer rates also vary, but researchers noticed a higher prevalence in these five states:

  1. New Jersey
  2. New York
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. Delaware
  5. Kentucky

And the lowest reported cancer rates were discovered in:

  1. Nevada
  2. New Mexico
  3. Arizona
  4. District of Columbia
  5. Colorado

So How Does Your State Fare?

After reading these results, were you surprised to see how your state ranks?

If you happen to work in one of the best healthcare states, congratulations!

This means it’s your time to make your independent emergency physician group stand out from all the options your state’s residents have. We can help you increase your ED’s efficiency and patient satisfaction scores using the best tools in practice management.

But what happens if you work in one of the worst healthcare states?

Have no fear.

We can help your emergency department work through the healthcare setbacks your state may be facing with our customized Revenue Cycle Management solutions.

To read the complete report, check out WalletHub’s original article here.

To see how DuvaSawko can help increase your revenues by 30%, click here for a complimentary practice analysis now.

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