Good News, Bad News in State Health-Related Data, Analysis Finds

Connecticut is 11th best among states in the number of people who had no trouble finding a doctor in 2015, according to State Health Compare. The top 10 states were Minnesota, Kansas, Vermont, Utah, North Dakota, Montana, Maine, Nebraska, Hawaii and Tennessee.  That's the good news. But Connecticut is also 17th worst among states in the percent of residents with high medical cost burdens, at 23.1 percent. Utah has the highest percentage at 27.5 percent; Maryland the lowest at 15.3 percent, among the 50 states.

According to the data, 70.7 percent of state residents had a general doctor or provider visit during the year, a lower percentage than the national average of 73 percent, and ranking the state 38th in the nation.  The data also reveal that Connecticut is 19th lowest among states in the percent of state budget devoted to Medicaid, and 28th lowest in state public health spending per person.

Nearly one in ten Connecticut residents (9.1 percent) spent the night in a hospital during the year, 15th highest in the nation.

Created by SHADAC, State Health Compare is a new online comparison tool with state-level estimates across 46 measures of health and health care from six federal agency sources. SHADAC is a multidisciplinary health policy research center with a focus on state health policy, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and affiliated with the Health Policy and Management Division of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota.

Categories in the database include health insurance coverage, cost of care, health behaviors, outcomes, access, utilization, quality of care, public health, and social and economic factors. Metrics include costs of potentially preventable hospitalizations, percent of residents who needed but did not get care due to cost, chronic disease prevalence, weight assessment in schools, and adult cancer screening rates.

Data for most measures is available for multiple years, allowing trend analysis. Within most of the 46 measures, the tool allows visitors to dive deeper into the data by subpopulations such as by age, race/ethnicity, and education level. The tool provides a map, state rank and trend display for each metric. The data can be downloaded and exported.

The data was recently featured in CT Health Notes, a biweekly informational newsletter of the Connecticut Health Policy Project. It includes research summaries, news, event notices, policy proposals and other issues important to Connecticut’s health policy.