On October 23, Healthgrades released its 2019 National Health Index. The study examined 100 cities across the U.S. and ranked them according to which ones are leading the way in healthcare. Every year, Healthgrades evaluates cities in the U.S. according to more than a dozen variables on what they are doing right with their healthcare.

The variables were then grouped into four major categories:

1) The general health of the city’s residents

2) If consumers had access to health care

3) If local specialists achieved high marks in patient satisfaction and physician count per capita, and

4) If patients had access to high-quality hospitals, determined using the Healthgrades 2019 hospital quality analysis.

The National Health Index exists to inform consumers and to help them “understand the health of their community, to empower them to navigate their care journey with confidence and to help them access the right care in their market,” according to Dr. Archelle Georgiou, MD, senior adviser to Healthgrades.

And the Winners Are…

According to Healthgrades, the top 10 cities that are paving the way to better healthcare overall are:

  1. Rochester, Minnesota
  2. Burlington, Vermont
  3. Charleston, South Carolina
  4. Cincinnati, Ohio
  5. Baltimore, Maryland
  6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  7. Gainesville, Florida
  8. Hartford, Connecticut
  9. San Jose, California
  10. Cleveland, Ohio

Click here for the full Top 100 Cities list. As you can see, North Carolina did not make it to the top 10. However, Charlotte did rank at 56th place, while Raleigh ranked at 78th place. Not terrible, but not great either. North Carolina cities have a lot to improve upon when it comes to quality healthcare, like making highly rated local specialists more accessible to everybody and improving clinical outcomes of medical procedures.

How Did They Do It?

According to the Healthgrades website, the rankings were broken down as such:

    The percentage of the population reporting: 1) they have any kind of healthcare coverage, 2) that cost did not restrict seeing a doctor when needed, 3) they think of at least one person as their personal doctor or healthcare provider, and 4) for residents ages 50 to 75, that they had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years.
    The percentage of the population: 1) in good or better health, 2) with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI), 3) who report participating in any physical activities during the past month, and 4) who visited a dentist within the past year.
    1) The percentage of all hospital quality ratings awarded in the market that were 5-star, 2) the percentage of hospitals in the market that have demonstrated clinical excellence across multiple conditions and procedures, and 3) the market’s average statistical measure of hospital clinical outcomes.
    The number of: 1) select specialists per capita, 2) select specialists per capita with an average Healthgrades Patient Experience Survey score ≥4.5, and 3) select specialists per capita with an average Healthgrades Patient Experience Survey score of 5.

For a complete explanation on how Healthgrades used algorithms to create the National Health Index, click here.

The North Carolina Coalition for Fiscal Health

We at the NC Coalition for Fiscal Health are always monitoring how health care costs affect North Carolinians. Have the sky-high costs of healthcare in our state impacted you and/or your family’s lives? Do you want to do something about it? Join the Coalition now to receive updates about new legislation and policies that will affect YOUR healthcare. Sign up now!

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