The health rankings and statistics for Allegany County have been released by the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, a national organization tracking such rankings for counties throughout the country. Our rank for overall health outcomes improved by three positions from 22 in 2014 to 19 in 2016. Contributing to that upward movement were a lesser percentage of the population in poor health, fewer poor physical health days and a very slight improvement in low birth weight. In addition, the percentage of adults smoking has decreased and physical inactivity has improved.
Our clinical rankings saw the most significant improvement with our rank moving from 17th to 13th as a result of less uninsured persons, more primary care physicians, and improvement in preventable hospital stays and diabetic screenings. There was also a reduction in children living in poverty.
Those areas where improvement is still needed include: alcohol-impaired driving deaths, which are up over last year and sexually transmitted infections, which are up over last year but well below the state’s results. Our ranking for physical environment factors, i.e. housing, long commutes, drinking water and air pollution, is unfortunately 24 out of 24.
It is not easy to get significant movement between years, but since we started tracking such information we have seen continued improvement in a number of areas, especially those related to health status. Such improvement is a direct result of the efforts put forth by WMHS in both our approach to value-based care delivery and our increasing role as the safety net for those in need throughout the region.