By Ed Sealover for The Denver Business Journal
Colorado improved its prenatal and early-childhood health indicators in the past year but slipped in its care for seniors, earning the state a “B” in the latest edition of the annual Colorado Health Report Card.
Officials from the Colorado Health Institute and Colorado Health Foundation, who put together the annual comparison of Colorado to other states, said Wednesday that Colorado has tackled arguably its biggest issue by cutting the rate of uninsured residents by more than half from 2013 to 2015. However, officials now need to turn their attention to the lack of access faced by even the insured to certain services, ranging from Medicaid providers in rural areas to mental-health providers in all regions.
“We are not on the honor roll, but we’re not in states 48, 49 and 50,” said Michele Lueck, president and CEO of the health institute, which compiled the data and rankings.
Colorado’s highest scores came in the area of senior care, where it earned a B-plus and placed 11th overall among the 50 states, topping the nation with 77.3 percent of older adults who participated in any form of physical activity in the past year. But its ranking dropped in the number of seniors who have had a flu shot in the past year along with a pneumonia vaccine (52.8 percent), and it dropped significantly for the percentage of seniors (94.5 percent) who said they have a personal doctor.
The state ranked 12th in adult health as well, topping the nation again for the lowest percentage of adults (21.5 percent) who are obese and finishing second for the percentage of adults who participate in physical activity (84.8 percent) and the numbers of adults reporting they have high blood pressure (20.2 percent). But Lueck noted that the state’s current obesity rate would have put it near the bottom of the rankings 10 years ago, as the entire nation is facing an obesity crisis.