Report: R.I. health system performance during pandemic 6th best in nation

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island’s health system ranked sixth in the nation and fourth in New England for its performance during the pandemic in The Commonwealth Fund’s 2022 scorecard released June 16.

The independent national health care researcher analyzed data based on overall performance, including non-COVID care, across 56 measures of health care. They included access and quality, service use and cost, health disparities and health outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Data showed nationally Rhode Island ranked 29th for seven metrics specific to COVID-19, including adults age 18 and older who are fully vaccinated; number of days until 70% of the state’s population age 12 and older was fully vaccinated; days of high ICU stress; days of hospital staffing shortages; hospital admissions for confirmed COVID-19 cases, per 100,000 population; excess deaths associated with COVID-19, per 100,000 population and deaths from COVID-19 among nursing home residents, per 1,000 beds.

The state ranked second for access and affordability, sixth for prevention and treatment, 25th for avoidable use and cost, 18th for healthy lives, 22th for income disparity and second for racial and ethnic equity.

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Among New England, Rhode Island ranked sixth for COVID-19 metrics, second for access and affordability, sixth for prevention and treatment, second for avoidable use and cost, fifth for healthy lives, fourth for income disparity and second for racial and ethnic equity.

Researchers noted the top-ranked indicators for Rhode Island were high out-of-pocket medical spending, adults without a dental visit and adults with all recommended cancer screenings. Its bottom-ranked indicators were days of hospital staffing shortages during the pandemic, Days in the ICU, stress during the pandemic and deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes.

South Carolina, New Mexico, and Rhode Island each experienced more than 400 days of critical staffing shortages. Alabama led the nation with 516 days of reported shortages.

Hawaii and Massachusetts led the nation overall for their performances during the pandemic. Researchers noted those two states’ overall performance separated them from other states. Both were consistently among the top three states across each of the seven dimensions of performance the state scorecard evaluated.

Hawaii ranked first for COVID-19 metrics, third for access and affordability, seventh for prevention and treatment, second for avoidable use and cost, second for healthy lives, third for income disparity and third for racial and ethnic equity.

Massachusetts, which also led the New England region, ranked second nationally for COVID-19 metrics, first for access and affordability, first for prevention and treatment, 35th for avoidable use and cost, first for healthy lives, second for income disparity and first for racial and ethnic equity.

The Bay State led New England for COVID-19 metrics, first for access and affordability, first for prevention and treatment, sixth for avoidable use and cost, first for healthy lives, first for income disparity and first for racial and ethnic equity.

Massachusetts top-ranked indicators were hospital 30-day mortality, uninsured adults and children without a medical and dental preventative care visit. Bottom-ranked indicators were primary care spending as share of total, age 65 and older, deaths from COVID-19 in nursing homes and hospital 30-day readmission rate age 65 and older.

Mississippi was ranked last in the nation. That state ranked 48th for COVID-19, 49th for access and affordability, 48th for prevention and treatment, 43rd for avoidable use and cost, 50th for healthy lives, 30th for income disparity and 48th for racial and ethnic equity.

The full report can be found here.

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