For years, in rankings of well being indicators by state, Georgia usually landed within the excessive 30s to low 40s.
However by no means on the backside.
The Peach State, although, has been ranked fiftieth, forward of solely Oklahoma, in a comparability of states and Washington, D.C., on well being look after seniors. It follows a Georgia rating of 51st final yr on total well being care, a rating largely overshadowed on the time by information of the pandemic.
The lately revealed scores by MedicareGuide on senior well being care analyzed elements akin to prescription drug costs, the variety of physicians in relation to a state’s inhabitants, and life expectancy to find out which states supplied one of the best well being look after folks over 65.
MedicareGuide, which is a part of the patron well being info web site HealthCare.com, in contrast the states on measurements of value, high quality of care, and entry to care.
The price class contains out-of-pocket medical spending, whereas the standard measure analyzes mortality charges for coronary heart illness, most cancers and stroke, amongst different elements. Entry contains charges of geriatricians, nurse practitioners and residential well being aides per capita.
“That is miserable however a obligatory wake-up name for Georgia policymakers,’’ Kathy Floyd, govt director of the Georgia Council on Ageing, stated this week. “Not like the youthful inhabitants, seniors have Medicare, however that doesn’t mechanically translate to good well being care.’’
The Georgia Division of Neighborhood Well being, when requested to touch upon the rating, identified that the company doesn’t administer the Medicare program.
“There isn’t any query that Georgia has work to do as a state the place older grownup well being is worried,’’ stated Lisa Renzi-Hammond of the Institute of Gerontology on the College of Georgia’s Faculty of Public Well being. “These rankings are a superb reminder that we have to roll up our sleeves, dig in and give attention to infrastructure to assist Georgia’s older adults.’’
However Renzi-Hammond additionally cited an space the place Georgia is doing nicely: look after Alzheimer’s sufferers. “We now have shaped a significant statewide collaboration to handle Alzheimer’s illness by way of main public well being campaigns centered on neighborhood schooling and prevention, well being care supplier schooling, and enhancing entry to analysis and post-diagnosis assist.’’
“There’s completely work to be executed, notably round entry, however I might not be shocked to see Georgia’s spot on the rankings rise over the subsequent few years,’’ she added.
Some counties left behind
Georgia’s backside rating on states’ total well being care final yr was compiled by WalletHub, a private finance web site. The WalletHub rankings used the three classes of prices, entry and outcomes.
In value of care, Georgia was common, at twenty sixth. However it was 51st in entry to care.
That class contains charges of physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners and doctor assistants per inhabitants. As of a 2018 report, 9 of the state’s 159 counties had no physicians, 76 counties had no ob/gyn, and 60 had been and not using a pediatrician. One other entry measure used is the speed of individuals with none well being protection. Georgia has the third-highest price of uninsured, at 13.4 p.c, trailing solely Texas and Oklahoma.
In well being outcomes, the state was forty seventh. The class contains information on toddler mortality and maternal mortality, the place Georgia has lengthy had issues.
Dr. Harry Heiman, a well being coverage knowledgeable at Georgia State College, stated of the WalletHub rating that “we’ve got identified for a very long time that Georgia has one of many highest charges within the nation for these with out medical insurance on the similar time we’ve got a number of the worst well being outcomes.’’
“We all know Georgia has unacceptably excessive toddler mortality and maternal mortality and excessive ranges of diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart illness,’’ Heiman stated. He added that “there are important inequities for all of those issues, disproportionately affecting low-income, rural, and Black and brown communities in our state.’’
In each rankings, states within the Southeast tended to fall on the backside. The MedicareGuide rankings had Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana and Mississippi at 40 and beneath.