Regional Health Care Assessment

Health Status and Disparities

Community health outcomes are often a factor of specific behaviors, socio-economic circumstances and the environments in which people live, as well as their access to quality health care. Comparing trends over time and disparities by geography and race or ethnicity can help communities identify and address health issues. The following issue briefs provide data for key indicators where changes in behavior, resource allocation or policies could have an impact on community health, including:

There are two major takeaways from the data in this section. First, in broad terms, health seems to be improving in the region. Preventable hospitalizations are trending down, and so are mortality rates for major diseases. Although obesity and diabetes continue to increase, the rate of increase for obesity has slowed.

Second, we should note that not all residents of the region are experiencing these positive trends. While declining overall, preventable hospitalizations are on the rise for minority populations. Mortality rates vary widely across the 11 counties in the study area, with rural and urban counties still experiencing much higher incidence of premature death than suburban counties. Also, obesity prevalence is significantly higher for blacks and Hispanics than for whites, and the mortality rate from diabetes is twice as high as that for whites. Targeting resources to better serve people in specific places and specific groups who are experiencing poorer health outcomes could improve overall regional health. This will become an increasing issue if not addressed, because these populations are increasing in numbers and are migrating to all corners of the region.

Additional conclusions from the data found in this section include:


Data is the most current available as of September 2017.

Produced by the Mid-America Regional Council for the REACH Healthcare Foundation | ©