Report: Healthiest Counties Have More Primary Care Physicians
The healthiest counties in California and other states also have the highestÂ ratio of primary care physicians, according to an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute, Modern Healthcare reports.
Details of Analysis
To develop the 2013 County Health Rankings, researchers analyzed federal data examining:
- Clinical care, such as access to primary care physicians and insurance rates;
- Health behaviors, such as smoking and alcohol consumption;
- Social and economic factors, such as unemployment and crime rates; and
- Physical environment, such as access to healthy foods and air pollution (Barr, Modern Healthcare, 3/20).
The analysis identified several national trends, such as:
- Residents living in healthier counties are 1.4 times more likely to have access to a physician and a dentist than residents living in the least healthy counties;
- Counties where residents do not live as long and experience poorer physical or mental wellness have the highest rates of smoking, teen births and physical inactivity, as well as more preventable hospitalizations; and
- Teen birth rates are more than twice as high in the least healthy counties than in the healthiest counties (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation release, 3/20).
The analysis ranked California counties according to health outcomes and health factors.
According to the report, health outcomes represent how healthy a county is, while health factors represent what influences the health of the county.
In California, the highest-ranking counties according to health outcomes are, respectively:
- Santa Clara;
- San Mateo; and
The lowest-ranking counties according to health outcomes are, respectively:
- Kern; and
- Del Norte.
The highest-ranking counties according to health factors are, respectively:
- San Mateo;
- Santa Clara; and
- El Dorado.
The lowest-ranking counties according to health factors are, respectively:
- Fresno; and
- Merced (County Rankings 2013: California Report, 3/20).