New scorecard ranks Baltimore in top third of cities for health

Baltimore ranks 95th for health out of 306 cities in new scorecard.

Health care improved across the U.S. in the three years ending in 2014, though progress was uneven around the country, according to a new scorecard released by the Commonwealth Fund.

The nonprofit health research group looked at three dozen indicators in 306 localities nationwide that were grouped into categories, including access and affordability of care, prevention and treatment, potentially avoidable hospital use and cost, and health behaviors and outcomes.

“This scorecard provides an in-depth look at how the health care system is working over time in local communities and how that impacts peoples’ health,” David Radley, researcher for the Commonwealth Fund’s Tracking Health System Performance program and lead author of the report, said in a statement. “There is still a lot of variation, and every community has room to improve. But it is striking to see the early effects of the Affordable Care Act at the local level, as people increasingly get coverage and care and quality improves.”

The scorecard attributes the improvements to increased insurance coverage under the federal health reform law, as well as better performance by health care providers.
Hawaii, the Upper Midwest, New England and the San Francisco areas performed better than those in the South and West, and those in wealthier areas had higher scores than those in poorer areas, the scorecard found.

In the Washington suburbs in Maryland, Takoma Park was ranked 47th out of the 306 communities for overall performance, with high marks for prevention and treatment and positive health outcomes.

Baltimore ranked 95th in overall performance, with the best scores in access and prevention and treatment. 

Salisbury on the Eastern Shore ranked 113th, with high marks for prevention and treatment, also putting it in the second quintile.

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