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Wisconsin Overtakes Minnesota as #1 State in Health Care Quality Rankings

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The newly released 2008 state rankings by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality (AHRQ) finds the State of Wisconsin has passed Minnesota for overall health care quality in the United States.

Minnesota, ranked #2 in 2008, was the top state in the country in 2007. Wisconsin had also been #1 in 2006.

The rankings are based on data cultivated from 30+ sources, such as government surveys, health care facilities, and health care organizations.

AHRQ examines health care quality measures across three large dimensions:

1) Type of care (preventive, acute, and chronic care),
2) Setting of care (hospitals, ambulatory, nursing homes, and home health care)
3) Clinical areas (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, maternal and child health, and respiratory disease).

Overall, the Upper Midwestern states boasted some of the best scores in the country with all of Minnesota's neighboring states landing in the Top 10: Wisconsin at #1, Minnesota at #2, North Dakota at #8, South Dakota at #9, and Iowa at #10.

However, aside from Wisconsin, all of the other Upper Midwestern states slipped in the rankings from the previous year:

· Minnesota fell from #1 to #2
· North Dakota fell from #3 to #8
· Iowa fell from #4 to #10
· South Dakota fell from #7 to #9

Minnesota received a "strong" rating in the areas of preventative care, acute care, hospital care, nursing home care, ambulatory care, and in the clinical areas of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases. Performance is based on a relative scale in comparison to all states reporting such data.

The Gopher State only received an "average" ranking in chronic care and maternal and child health measures, and was considered "very weak" in the area of home health care (again, vis-à-vis the other 50 states and the District of Columbia).

The State of New York enjoyed the biggest jump in the rankings, improving from 42nd in 2007 to 28th in 2008 - a 14-state bump. Georgia (+10, 50th to 40th), Missouri (+9, 34th to 25th), Virginia (+7, 28th to 21st), and Massachusetts (+7, 10th to 3rd) also had notable improvements.

Wyoming, on the other side of the coin, saw their state ranking fall 16 slots, from 19th to 35th among the states. New Mexico (-11, 36th to 47th), Utah (-7, 11th to 18th) and Indiana (-7, 35th to 42nd) also endured a significant downgrading of their health care systems relative to the rest of the country.

AHRQ Health Care Quality Rankings by State, 2008

2008 Rank
2007 Rank
State
2008
2007
Change
1
2
WI
69.20
66.04
3.16
2
1
MN
65.38
66.96
-1.58
3
10
MA
63.91
60.65
3.26
4
9
NH
63.51
60.75
2.76
5
6
MI
63.18
61.47
1.71
6
8
RI
62.50
61.21
1.29
7
5
NE
61.84
62.26
-0.42
8
3
ND
61.36
64.02
-2.66
9
7
SD
59.77
61.39
-1.62
10
4
IA
59.57
62.39
-2.82
11
16
NJ
58.75
56.70
2.05
12
14
ME
58.24
57.83
0.41
13
13
CT
58.04
58.06
-0.02
14
15
VT
57.77
57.62
0.15
15
12
MT
55.98
58.13
-2.15
16
18
CO
55.51
55.79
-0.28
17
17
HI
52.23
56.52
-4.29
18
11
UT
52.23
59.72
-7.49
19
20
DE
52.20
53.70
-1.50
20
23
WA
52.16
50.43
1.73
21
28
VA
49.47
46.25
3.22
22
21
AK
49.38
50.68
-1.30
23
24
CA
48.74
50.00
-1.26
24
22
ID
48.33
50.61
-2.28
25
34
MO
48.31
41.81
6.50
26
30
NC
47.90
44.64
3.26
27
27
PA
47.85
46.28
1.57
28
42
NY
47.06
38.84
8.22
29
31
SC
46.93
43.93
3.00
30
26
OR
46.58
49.07
-2.49
31
25
KS
44.30
50.00
-5.70
32
33
WV
43.28
41.96
1.32
33
29
AZ
43.22
46.05
-2.83
34
40
AL
42.55
40.12
2.43
35
19
WY
42.17
53.85
-11.68
36
32
MD
40.99
42.11
-1.12
37
38
OH
40.78
40.48
0.30
38
37
IL
39.64
40.74
-1.10
39
41
FL
38.56
38.93
-0.37
40
50
GA
38.24
27.36
10.88
41
39
OK
38.03
40.23
-2.20
42
35
IN
37.98
40.82
-2.84
43
46
TN
36.44
34.84
1.60
44
45
TX
36.36
35.10
1.26
45
47
DC
35.62
33.33
2.29
46
43
KY
35.47
36.36
-0.89
47
36
NM
35.00
40.76
-5.76
48
49
AR
34.87
27.98
6.89
49
44
NV
33.61
35.53
-1.92
50
48
MS
30.00
29.63
0.37
51
51
LA
26.06
18.97
7.09
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Data compiled by Smart Politics.

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