SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

December 13, 2012

OH Health Rank drops (again)

35TH IN U.S. RANKINGS

State of Ohio’s health isn’t getting better, report shows

By Misti Crane THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

It seems like high time for some New Year’s resolutions that you’ll keep, Ohio.  The state once again falls near the bottom in a state-by-state health ranking issued yesterday.

Ohio is 35th in the United Health Foundation’s annual report. The nonprofit bases its America’s Health Rankings on several factors, including smoking rates, public-health funding, air pollution, preventable hospitalizations and the percentage of uninsured residents .

Ohio was ranked 36th last year. It has languished near the bottom for the past decade. Only once in that time frame did it rise above 30th — to 26th in 2006.

  • One in 4 adults in Ohio smokes, and almost 1 in 3 is obese. Infectious diseases are prevalent, infant mortality is high and so are preventable hospitalizations.

Dr. Theodore Wymyslo, director of the Ohio Department of Health, said that Ohio needs to move away from throwing money at individual programs in an effort to improve its overall health status.

“I need a coordinated, organized system to get at total health for people,” he said.

The state already is working to connect practices throughout Ohio in hopes that sharing information will lead to better care overall, Wymyslo said.

There must be greater focus on prevention and interventions in doctors’ offices and clinics, he said. And health-care providers must be better rewarded for helping Ohioans get healthier, not just for responding to disease when it sickens them, he said.

  • Wymyslo said he’s looking to states where spending is lower and health rankings are higher for inspiration as he seeks to improve the health of those living here.

Dr. Richard Gajdowski, medical director for the central Ohio region for UnitedHealthcare, said that Ohio can improve its ranking, but that no one individual entity, be it public health, hospitals or government, will be able to do it alone.

“We have the capacity in this state to improve many of these metrics,” he said. “And if we don’t do anything, we certainly can go lower.”

Vermont was ranked first this year. That state has high high-school graduation rates, low crime rates, low rates of infectious disease and a low prevalence of low-birth-weight babies — all of which contribute to its relative success, according to the foundation.

Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last. Both have been in the bottom three since the foundation began issuing rankings in 1990.

This year, data on behavioral risk factors gathered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included calls to Americans who have only cellphones in an effort to provide a more accurate picture of health data nationwide.

To read the full report, go to http://www.americashealth   rankings.org  . mcrane@dispatch.com

(Jan’s Comment:  
For all the boasting rights Ohio has garnered under Governor Kasich with regard to jobs and  the inclusion of new business – - it seems it doesn’t equate to a higher standard of living for those under the top 2%.  Our uninsured remain in trouble.  All those jobs we’ve grown have been mostly low-paying, so not much changes as one can see, except that we dropped another point.     
Feel sorry for the insurance companies who insure my health under Medicare – they are always sending me letters to be sure and get my flu and pneumonia shots.  Of course, I’ll have none of that – why should I deliberately try to upset my immune system or screw around with my cognitive function with all those toxic inoculations which are known to mess with the brain and literally bring on dementia?  Perhaps they just don’t understand that I’m not being careless or forgetful, but am actually taking pretty good care of my body nutrition-wise.  Instead, I opt for a few superfoods, a lot of organic for juicing and a number of supplements I feel it wise to consume (for someone my age).   .

@MistiCrane

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