Missouri’s health care system continues to rank among the worst in the country despite notable improvements in treatment metrics, according to a report published this month.
Hawaii topped the national ranking, followed by Massachusetts and Minnesota. Mississippi was last on the list, just ahead of Oklahoma and Texas. Missouri ranked behind all but two of the eight states it borders — Oklahoma (50th) and Arkansas (47th).
Still, Missouri was ranked the second most improved state with improvements on 17 factors. These included the number of home health patients without improved mobility and the number of hospital admissions for pediatric asthma. The state improved the most in terms of prevention and treatment, jumping up six places to 37th in the category.
The state also saw improvements in the number of obese or overweight children and the number of sick adults.
Health care spending for both employer-sponsored plans and Medicare beneficiaries in Missouri has increased since 2013, but it remains just under the national average.
However, the state remains below the national average in all areas of analysis and dropped two places in baseline ranking.
The most notable decline was seen in access and affordability, where the state dropped six places to 33rd. The reports cites spikes in the number of adults without dental care or a consistent source for health care.
Missouri ranked 49th for disparity of gender-appropriate cancer screenings and preventive medical and dental care for children.
The number of potentially avoidable emergency room visits for insured adults has declined, but the number remains substantially higher than the national average, putting Missouri at 49th place. Avoidable emergency visits for elderly Medicare beneficiaries increased and the 30-day hospital readmissions for adults remain high in the state.
While deaths from drug overdose and suicide have peaked nationwide, the rates are higher in Missouri. The number of deaths by overdose in the state is about 23.4 higher per 100,000 people, while suicide rates top the national rate by 18.5 per 100,000.
Missouri has some of the lowest alcohol-related deaths with a rank of 12th place.