Commonwealth Fund ranks state health care 11th, shows deep disparities

A new scorecard from the Commonwealth Fund ranks Wisconsin 11th in the nation for health care, but indicates the state’s deep disparities are worsening.

The Wisconsin Hospital Association pointed to positive trends in the report, such as hospital readmissions dropping and the state’s high performance in prevention and treatment of disease. The group said the state’s high overall performance is “bolstered by the high degree of care integration” between hospitals, health systems, providers and insurers and a commitment to improving outcomes.

“Wisconsin’s outstanding performance on this scorecard is not a surprise given the clinical excellence of the health care professionals working within our health systems,” WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding said.

But though the report gave Wisconsin high overall marks, it found the state’s inequities in health care persist and are actually getting worse, with 8 out of 13 health-related indicators worsening for minorities compared to last year’s report.

African-Americans in Wisconsin are three times as likely as Caucasians or Hispanics to die from treatable diseases, the report says.

Both the rate of infant mortality and the number of deaths that could have been avoided with interventional care were more than double the general rate for African-Americans. And Wisconsin ranked 45th in the country for minorities’ health care.

Overall, infant mortality and adult obesity were also up slightly in Wisconsin, the report found. But the report found other positive indicators in its “healthy lives” category, where Wisconsin ranked 16th in the nation. That includes slightly reduced rates of breast and colon cancer and fewer adults who smoke.

Several areas in Wisconsin also ranked among the highest in the country, with Appleton ranking 5th, Madison at 13th, La Crosse at 15th and Green Bay at 19th.

See Wisconsin’s scores:

–By Alex Moe