Iowa Moves Up to No. 6 in 2018 Health System Scorecard

The Commonwealth Fund has released its 2018 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. The scorecard assesses more than 40 measures of health care access, quality, efficiency, health outcomes and health disparities across the US and ranks states based on those measures.

Overall, Iowa is ranked number six, moving up one spot from 2017. The state is above the national average on measures of prevention and treatment (No. 4), access and affordability (No. 6), avoidable hospital use and cost (No. 14), healthy lives (No. 12) and disparity (No. 19). Iowa’s top ranked indicators include low rates of adults without all recommended vaccines, adults who went without care because of cost and infant mortality.

However, the report reveals that there are still areas for improvement on some measures. Specifically, Iowa’s lowest rankings were hospital 30-day mortality rates (No. 49), home health patients with a hospital admission (No. 39) and adults who are obese (No. 31). Knowing this information can help Iowa’s health care providers address these issues moving forward.

Notably, Iowa’s low uninsured rate contributes to its overall high ranking (fifth for lowest percentage of uninsured adults and second for lowest percentage of uninsured children). However, a recent Gallup poll shows that Iowa’s uninsured rate is increasing, jumping from 3.9 percent in 2016 to 7.2 percent in 2017. This is likely due to political forces and changes surrounding the Affordable Care Act.