Wisconsin regions rank highly on health care, new report indicates

The Milwaukee area ranked 48th, or in the top 16 percent, out of 306 communities in overall health care performance, according to a report by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund.

The report factored in measures of access, cost, quality and health outcomes among 43 total indicators used. Senior analyst and project director for the report David Radley said Milwaukee performed well across the board.

“Milwaukee did pretty well overall,” Radley said. “Only about 15 percent of adults (in Milwaukee) don’t have health insurance, which is actually pretty good.”

Radley said these local scorecards show communities how they stack up to the rest of the nation.

“What we have been able to do with the scorecards is identify how communities are doing relevant to the national average,” Radley said.

Marquette associate professor of economics Olga Yakusheva said nationally, the issues of cost and accessibility are mainly what raise debate and concern over health care.

“Cost and accessibility are the main issues at this point, as our quality is relatively high,” Yakusheva said. “However, these three dimensions – cost, quality, and accessibility – are all connected.”

Radley said this study can be useful for communities while they look for ways to improve their health care.

“The first year we did the score card was 2006, but that was from a national level,” Radley said. “This is the first time where we have gone down deeper than the state level and that’s why this is a particularly important tool because it helps smaller communities see what specific things they want to target.”

Also on the list from Wisconsin were Appleton (5th), La Crosse (7th), Green Bay (12th), Neenah (14th), Madison (23rd), Wausau (42nd) and Marshfield (51st). Wisconsin ranked 10th when the Commonwealth Fund released state scorecards in 2009.

St. Paul, Minnesota was at the top of the 2012 community rankings, while Monroe, Louisiana rounded out the bottom of the list at 306.