ANNAPOLIS, MD (December 10, 2014) -- The UnitedHealth Foundation today released “America’s Health Rankings 2014,” which found that Maryland had the greatest improvement of any state this year. Maryland improved eight spots from 24th last year to 16th in 2014. Key areas of improvement cited in the report include increased immunization rates and reductions in rates of preventable hospitalizations, smoking, and binge drinking.
“Over the course of the O’Malley-Brown Administration, we have made better choices to bring low-cost, high quality health coverage to more Marylanders across our State,” said Governor O’Malley. “Today’s news shows a lot of improvement, but our work is far from finished. We are focused on strengthening Maryland’s middle class, and helping to lift families out of poverty -- continuing to ensure that more Marylanders have access to quality, affordable health coverage is a key ingredient of that effort.”
“This jump in national rankings is another sign of significant public health improvement in Maryland,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “It reflects efforts in communities and coalitions across the state to support well-being and prevent disease, as well as our strong clinical care system.”
The report, which is in its 25th year of production, also found that Maryland is one of the most improved states for health since 1990. The report noted that in Maryland:
- Since 1990, children in poverty driven down by 7 percent from 16.4 percent to 15.3 percent of children.
- Since 1990, infant mortality driven down by 43 percent from 11.6 to 6.6 deaths per 1,000 live births.
- Since 1990, cardiovascular deaths driven down by 40 percent from 415.8 to 250.7 deaths per 100,000 population.
- Since 1990, violent crime driven down by 38 percent from 768 to 477 offenses per 100,000 population.
As part of the O’Malley-Brown Administration’s 16 strategic goals to move Maryland forward, the State is working to reduce preventable hospitalizations by 10 percent by the end of 2015 and to reduce infant mortality in Maryland by 10 percent by 2017. To date, Maryland has reduced preventable hospitalizations by 11.5 percent per 100,000 people since 2011, exceeding the state’s goal, and has surpassed the goal to decrease Maryland’s infant mortality rate by 10 percent by driving it down by 17.5 percent.
In April 2014, the Commonwealth Fund issued a report highlighting the substantial progress Maryland has made over the last five years. The report noted that Maryland is one of only four states that “stand out for their net improvement across indicators.” The State improved in fourteen indicators, while only four indicators deteriorated, making Maryland only one of two states to have a +10 differential. Additionally, Maryland was one of five states that improved on ten or more indicators of health equity, rising from a rank of 30 to a rank of 12.
Additionally, the O’Malley-Brown Administration has embraced CRISP, Maryland’s statewide health information exchange (HIE). CRISP’s Regional Extension Center for Health IT and HIE efforts serve to advance health and wellness of Marylanders by enabling healthcare providers to share clinical data with other providers and hospital systems across the State. These initiatives, and others, were detailed in an August 2014 report from Business Insider titled, “An Amazing Healthcare Revolution Is Happening In Maryland — And Almost No One's Talking About It.”