Diving into the Data: How Many Americans Die Prematurely from Treatable Causes?

By David C. Radley: For More Info, Go Here…

The Commonwealth Fund launched a new online data center in June 2018. This tool allows users to interact with, visualize, and download state level health system performance data. The data center will be updated throughout the year — each indicator update will be accompanied by a short blog post highlighting the new data.

Recent headlines point to a troubling reality: Americans can expect to live a shorter life than they did a decade ago. There are numerous factors contributing to this decrease in life expectancy, including a rise in deaths from unintended injuries and dramatic increases in overdose deaths from opioids. In this post we look at one of the causes of declining life expectancy — premature deaths from treatable causes, also known as mortality amenable to health care.

The Commonwealth Fund has long tracked premature death as a way to measurethe effectiveness of care delivery. The measure includes deaths before age 75 from illnesses that are generally considered treatable, as long as they are detected early and effectively managed. Examples include deaths from diabetes before age 50, measles before age 14, or thyroid disease or appendicitis before age 75. (A complete list of conditions is available in the Appendix.)

The rate of premature deaths declined over a long period, hitting their lowest rates nationally (83.7 per 100,000) in 2012–13, then rose slightly in 2013–14 (to 84.2 per 100,000) and have remained steady since.

People die from treatable conditions at different rates across the country — rates tend to be higher in the south and in Great Lakes states, and lower in New England and in several plains and mountain states. In 2016–17, these rates ranged from 54.5 per 100,000 in Minnesota to 143.4 per 100,000 in Mississippi. There is also a wide difference in how states’ rates have changed over time. From 2007–08 to 2016–17, Massachusetts saw the largest decline (–19.7%), although 15 states had at least a 10 percent drop during that time. Eight states had a rate increase in the past decade; rates jumped nearly 12 percent in Oklahoma.

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