F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health Grades States’ Rural Health

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health ranked states with rural counties (47) on the quality of their rural health. The report ranks states on a 4.0 scale by measuring mortality, morbidity and access to health care of rural counties. Overall, 10 states received a grade of A, while nine received a failing grade.

“Rankings come out often on state health, but there has never been a system that just focuses on comparing rural health between states,” TTUHSC F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health Director Billy Philips, Ph.D., said. “This report is meant for states to look closely at their rural health and their rural health care, their policies and the success and failures of their peers. We are comparing apples to apples, or states to states, using secondary data, and we want these people to see how health can be improved by looking at the initiatives of individual states.” 

New Hampshire ranked first, and Mississippi was at the bottom at 47. The report finds regional trends in the quality of rural health throughout the country, with high performers in the northern Great Plains and failing grades throughout the southern states. 

Texas ranked 36th and received a grade of D-minus due to its low access to care, poor physical health and high mortality rates from heart disease and stroke. Texas’ rural counties have an 18.8 percent increase in rural mortality compared to its urban populations, and Texas ranks 43rd in rural/urban difference in mortality.

“Forty percent of the Texas economy is generated in West Texas,” Philips said. “Texas needs West Texas, but West Texas needs health and access to health care. Health is the cornerstone to everything. Without good health, people have nothing.”

Visit http://ruralhealthquarterly.com/home/2017/12/15/u-s-rural-health-report-card-2017/ to view the full report published in the TTUHSC F. Marie Hall Institute for Rural and Community Health’s Rural Health Quarterly.

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