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The states of health care: Ranking the best and worst


 

The state with the best hospital now has the best health care to go along with it, and the last frontier is also last in the nation in health care.

In the 2019 edition of its annual ranking of state health care systems, personal finance website WalletHub named Minnesota the best less than a week after U.S. News & World Report called the Mayo Clinic the top hospital in the country.

Ranked: State heath care systems, 2019

The WalletHub ranking, which included Washington, D.C., also put Alaska’s health care system at No. 51. Just one step above in the 50th spot was North Carolina, with Mississippi (49), South Carolina (48), and Arkansas (47) occupying the rest of the bottom five. Louisiana, which jumped from 51st in 2018 to 44th this year, was the only state to move out of the bottom five, WalletHub reported.

Joining Minnesota in the top five were Massachusetts (2), Rhode Island (3), D.C. (4), and Vermont (5), which was the home of last year’s best health care. North Dakota, which moved up 12 spots this year all the way to 9th, had the second-largest climb of any state: Montana catapulted 15 spots this year to finish 17th overall, WalletHub said.

For 2019, the company compared the states and D.C. using 43 measures of cost, accessibility, and outcome. The cost dimension’s six metrics included cost of a medical visit and share of adults with no doctor visits because of cost. The accessibility dimension consisted of 23 metrics, including hospital beds per capita, geriatricians per population aged 65 years and older, and Medicaid acceptance rate among physicians. The outcomes dimension included 14 metrics, among them share of patients readmitted to hospitals and share of nonimmunized children.

Minnesota was the only state to finish in the top 10 of all three dimensions. D.C. was ranked first in cost and Maine was the leader in access – as each was last year – and Massachusetts was ranked first in outcomes, the WalletHub data show.

The lowest-ranked states for each category in 2019 were the same as in 2018: Alaska (cost), Texas (access), and Mississippi (outcomes), according to the WalletHub analysis, which was based on data from 21 sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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