· United Health Foundation issues first America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report
· Analysis illustrates strengths, challenges nationally and in New Jersey
· Findings emphasize need to prepare for New Jersey’s growing senior population
NEW JERSEY (May 29, 2013) – New Jersey is ranked 27th for senior health, according to the inaugural edition of United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities. The survey had some good news for New Jersey seniors, including a high percentage of able-bodied seniors, but also reflected areas that need improvement, such as high rates of hospital deaths.
United Health Foundation commissioned the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report to examine the health challenges affecting today’s seniors and to encourage the nation and local communities to find ways to improve senior health. Americans are living longer but sicker lives and America’s senior population is poised to grow more than 50 percent between 2015 and 2030, making senior health a timely and critical national issue.
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is the most comprehensive rankings to date of senior health on state and national levels and can be viewed and downloaded at www.americashealthrankings.org. This report builds on the annual America’s Health Rankings report which, for 23 years, has presented the definitive analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings.
“United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report is a highly valuable tool to help gain a greater understanding of the health challenges faced by New Jersey’s seniors,” said Dr. Anju Sikka, M.D., regional medical director, UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey. “New Jersey’s growing senior population points to the urgency of identifying key opportunities for improving senior health and pursuing effective solutions at the national, state, community and family levels.”
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report assesses state-level performance on 34 different elements, including both health determinants and health outcomes.
New Jersey’s Bill of Health
The America’s Health Rankings Senior Report finds that New Jersey has its share of strengths and challenges for senior health.
New Jersey’s Strengths
· Recommended hospital care: New Jersey ranks 3rd in the nation with 98.3% percent of seniors receiving the appropriate hospital care recommended by their doctors for conditions such as heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia.
· Able-bodied seniors: 66.8% of New Jersey seniors are considered able-bodied, the 6th best rate in the country.
· Availability of geriatricians: New Jersey ranks 8th in the nation for having enough geriatricians to meet the needs of the elderly, although New Jersey still has a shortfall 41.8% of needed geriatricians.
· Hip fracture hospitalizations: Among Medicare enrollees, only 6.4 per 1,000 seniors were hospitalized for hip fractures, the 5th lowest rate in the nation.
New Jersey’s Challenges
· ICU usage: 24.7 percent of New Jersey seniors spend 7 days or more in an intensive care unit during the last 6 months of life, the worst rate in the country.
· Hospital deaths: 36.7 percent of New Jersey residents age 65 or older die in the hospital, the 4th worst rate in the U.S.
· Hospital readmissions: 16.8 percent of hospitalized patients age 65 or older were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge, placing New Jersey 46th among the states.
· Volunteerism: Only 18.9 percent of New Jersey seniors report spending time volunteering for an organization in the past twelve months, the 5th lowest percent in the nation.
Among all 50 States: Minnesota leads the nation for senior health, followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Iowa. Mississippi ranks 50th, preceded by Oklahoma, Louisiana, West Virginia, and Arkansas.
Nationwide, preventable chronic health conditions at troubling levels among seniors
Older Americans are experiencing troubling rates of chronic health conditions, according to the Senior Report. About 80 percent of seniors are living with at least one chronic health condition, while 50 percent of seniors have two or more chronic health conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, the report finds that more than 25 percent of seniors nationwide are obese.
“Chronic illness is unnecessarily high among seniors,” said Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior advisor to United Health Foundation and chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement. “The coordination of care for seniors, particularly the 50 percent of the population with multiple chronic illnesses, is complex and increases pressure on our country’s caregivers and our health care system.”
UnitedHealthcare Programs Address Health Needs of New Jersey’s Seniors
Through its portfolio of Medicare plans, UnitedHealthcare supports Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey with clinical solutions that help address health concerns underscored in the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report. These programs include:
· Integrated disease management and care coordination programs, which provide select Medicare Advantage plan members with chronic health conditions – such as diabetes or certain types of heart disease – needed resources and support;
· UnitedHealthcare’s HouseCalls program, offering qualified Medicare Advantage plan members an at-home visit with a health care practitioner to assess health needs and discuss personal health concerns;
· UnitedHealthcare’s PharmAssist service, which provides select Medicare Advantage plan members with one-on-one counseling sessions with specialty-trained plan pharmacists to understand how to take their medications as prescribed.
About America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report
America’s Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and Their Communities offers a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis across 34 measures of senior health. In commissioning the report, United Health Foundation seeks to promote discussion around the health of Americans 65 years and older while driving communities, governments, stakeholders, families and individuals to take action to improve senior health.
Researchers drew data from more than 12 government agencies and leading research organizations to create a focused, uniquely rich data set for measuring senior health at the state level, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Labor, The Dartmouth Atlas Project, the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger and the Commonwealth Fund.
In addition to producing the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, United Health Foundation also produces the annual America’s Health Rankings report. For 23 years, America’s Health Rankings has provided an analysis of national health on a state-by-state basis by evaluating a historical and comprehensive set of health, environmental and socioeconomic data to determine national health benchmarks and state rankings. The Rankings employs a unique methodology, developed and annually reviewed by a Scientific Advisory Committee of leading public health scholars.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 780,000 physicians and other health care professionals and 5,900 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 40 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.
The family of UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Solutions plans are insured or covered by UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliates, a Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor.