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Mass. Ranked Best Healthcare System in Grim Health Report

By Tom Marino | June 23, 2023
Last Updated: June 23, 2023

Mass. – The Commonwealth Fund released its 2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance on Thursday, ranking Massachusetts’ as the top performing health system in the United States, but painting a grim picture of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country.

Here are the five top ranked state systems, as well as the ranking of states in and around New England.

  • 1st – Massachusetts
  • 2nd – Hawaii
  • 3rd – New Hampshire
  • 4th – Rhode Island
  • 5th – Vermont
  • 6th – Connecticut
  • 9th – New York (tied)
  • 9th – Pennsylvania (tied)
  • 16th – Maine
  • 17th – New Jersey

Here is how Massachusetts ranked in the Scorecard’s summary categories:

Overall: 1st
Access & Affordability: 1st
Prevention & Treatment: 1st
Avoidable Use & Cost: 44th
Healthy Lives: 1st
Reproductive Care & Women’s Health: 1st
Income Disparity: 7th
Racial & Ethnic Equity: 1st

With Washington D.C (11th) included, the study has 51 total rankings. The bottom five states are;

  • 46th – Tennessee
  • 47th – Arkansa
  • 48th – Texas
  • 49th – Oklahoma (tied)
  • 49th – West Virginia (tied)
  • 51st – Mississippi

The state rankings are based on scoring derived from 58 measures of health care access, quality, use of services, costs, health disparities, reproductive care and women’s health, and health outcomes.

The 2023 Scorecard says that deaths from preventable and treatable causes rose in every state between 2019 and 2021, through the pandemic. In Massachusetts, preventable and treatable causes of death of individuals before age 75 rose from 196.5 per 100,000 in 2018-19 to 222.1 per 100,000in 2020-21. Despite the increase, Massachusetts  had the lowest ate of preventable deaths in the country. The state with the highest number of deaths in the same category, Mississippi, rose from 379 per 100,000 in 2018-19 to 518.6 per 100,00 in 2020-21.

The Scorecard says that deaths from COVID-19 – as well as premature, avoidable deaths from causes like drug overdoses, firearms, and certain treatable chronic conditions –  rose dramatically during the first two years of the pandemic, lowering life expectancy across the United States.

The lack of access to adequate mental health care is a contributing factor to the rapid increase in drug overdose and alcohol-related deaths, according to the study. These deaths reached record levels in 2021, For the first time, deaths combined deaths from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicide claimed upwards of 200,000 lives in 2021. This is about 50,000 more than the pre-pandemic high in 2019.

The Scorecard includes several additional statistics, including rise in every state of mortality for women between 15 and 44,  increased maternal mortality, and the disproportionate effects of COVID-19 and premature mortality on Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans.

The Scorecard also highlights pandemic-era insurance policies that resulted in a record low number of uninsured Americans. Those programs are ending, leaving many uncovered again, and exposing them to crushing medical debt at a time while the cost of care continues to rise.

The full report is available from The Commonwealth Fund.

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