Colorado Community

Coloradans Get High Marks for Health Outcomes but Poor Scores for Doctors Visits

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/04/18  3:22 PM PST
Health Outcomes

Coloradans Get High Marks for Health Outcomes but Poor Scores for Doctors Visits – By Anna Staver for The Denver Post

Colorado ranks 7th in the nation for healthcare across 40 key measures, but the Centennial State still struggles to get its most at-risk residents to the doctor, according to a new study.

The WalletHub study compared each U.S. state and the District of Columbia on cost, access and outcomes like the number of hospital beds per capita, life expectancy and average monthly insurance premium.

Colorado received the best marks for health outcomes, low cancer rates and low rates of heart disease. Where the state failed was getting people to the doctor. Only two states had a higher percentage of at-risk adults with no routine doctor visits in the past two years.

The poor score is likely a reflection of the difficulties western states have in bringing healthcare to rural communities. New Mexico, Oregon and Washington were all at the bottom of that list.

In Colorado, Park and Crowley counties don’t have a single primary care physician and 13 counties don’t have a hospital. People in those places are often faced with the daunting task of driving hundreds of miles for routine checkups.

Boulder, Douglas and Denver county residents have the highest access to care in Colorado while Bent, Conejos and Crowley counties have the lowest, according to the most recent access study put together by the Colorado Health Institute.

“Even when there is sufficient infrastructure to help people get care, obstacles can remain…,” according to the report. “The nine factors include the affordability of care, transportation difficulties and timely treatment by providers.”

The Colorado Health Institute’s county maps also highlighted the rural-urban divide in healthcare. From 2013 to 2017 urban residents increased their access to healthcare while rural residents, mostly those along the southern border, saw their access decline.

It’s not just rural Coloradans who need to go to the doctor more. Minorities and people with low incomes have lower access scores too.

Read the Full Article on The Denver Post.


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