We’re Number 1! Mass. Health Status Tops Annual List

Massachusetts is the healthiest state in the union, according to a new survey from United Health foundation.

The annual ranking assesses 35 measures ranging from ones related to “Behaviors” (obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, among others), to “Community & Environment” (air pollution, infectious disease, violent crime, etc.); to “Policy” (immunizations, public health funding, rate of uninsured, etc.); to “Clinical Care” (number of dentists, mental health providers, and primary care physicians, etc.); and “Outcomes” (cancer and cardiovascular deaths, infant mortality, etc.).

Massachusetts’ strengths are in its low percentage of uninsured population, its low obesity rate, and a higher number of mental health providers. The commonwealth, however, has a high rate of drug death (per 100,000 population) and large disparity in health status by educational attainment; that is, there is a large gap in the commonwealth between those with a high school education and those without who report that their health is good to excellent.

The state ranking Number 50 is Mississippi.

The Coalition to Protect Patient Safety, of which MHA is a founding member, said the state’s top ranking is impressive, but added, "Our system, however, is fragile and adverse impacts from the proposed nurse staffing ballot question in 2018, can easily put patient health and safety at risk. The rigid, costly nurse staffing measure will drive up consumer healthcare costs without increasing the quality of care, and will lead to the closure of financially vulnerable community hospitals. We must not let politics stop our state's progress or jeopardize our nationally valued ability to provide affordable, quality healthcare."