Moffat County’s health ranking released | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County’s health ranking released

Rank moves from 31 to 37

Moffat County is working to change its health ranking statistics.

— Despite a drop in this year’s health rankings, people in Moffat County are thought to be healthier now than in 2012, but work needs to be done for the community to earn rankings as high as those of surrounding counties.

Moffat County ranked 37th out of 58 counties this year and was slightly worse off than in 2016 when the county ranked 31 out of 60, but better than in 2012 when the rank were 50 out of 59 counties.

"County health rankings should be looked at as a trend and Moffat County is headed in the right direction," stated Northwest Colorado Health Director of Public Health Charity Neal said via email.

Surrounding counties continue to rank higher:

• Routt County — 4th

• Eagle County — 5th

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• Summit County — 8th

• Grand County — 12th

• Garfield County — 13th

• Rio Blanco County — 23rd

• Mesa County — 25th

Rankings are the result of an ongoing collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute that measure the health of nearly all counties in the nation.

Analysts compile county-level measures from a variety of national and state sources, then rank counties within each state.

"The annual rankings provide a revealing snapshot of how health is influenced by where we live, learn, work and play. They provide a starting point for change in communities," states the County Rankings & Roadmaps website.

The turning point for Moffat County seems to have happened when individuals, state, county and local organizations increased their efforts to work together for change.

"Moffat County residents and community leaders began to take an active interest in the health and wellbeing of the county. There have been increasing conversations and understanding of how health impacts all areas of life and all areas of life impact health, which has led to greater collaboration for improvement," Neal stated.

Overall the county ranked highly in physical environment, meaning there is less air pollution, housing problems and shorter commutes to work than in other Colorado counties.

Moffat County ranked lowest in the categories of clinical care, health behaviors and length of life.

To help address poor health behaviors, "Northwest Colorado Health has been fortunate to receive several grants for tobacco, home visiting programs, cardiovascular and diabetes prevention as well as health disparities funding that have allowed us to bring significant programming to the area," Neal stated.

The low rank in the clinical care category is the result of the high ratio of patients to providers. For example, in Moffat County there are 2,150 patients per primary care physician. The state average is 1,240 patients per physician, and in fourth-ranked Routt County there are 850 patients for each physician.

"Access to primary care is an essential piece of creating a healthy community," said Memorial Regional Health Vice President of Operations Jennifer Riley. "Since the beginning of 2017, we have brought on two new primary care providers — Dr. Cynthia Reed and physician assistant Tracey Wall, and in May we are adding another new physician assistant at our convenient care walk-in clinic. Dr. Kipe, a longtime community physician is also joining MRH in May."

The complete report and easy to use tools for comparing counties can be found at countyhealthrankings.org/app/colorado/2017/rankings/moffat/county/outcomes/overall/snapshot.

Moving from the bottom of the list is laudable, but systemic social change might be needed see Moffat County compete with Colorado's top-ranked counties.

"Our biggest opportunities for improvement continue to be those in the areas of personal choice and social norms changes," Neal stated. "We know these are the most challenging areas to impact change and where we see the results of change at a slower pace."

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Moffat County health rankings

Category, Rank in Colorado

2017

Health outcomes and overall health, 37 out of 58 ranked counties

Length of life, 41

Quality of life, 26

Health factors, 38

Health behaviors, 49

Clinical care, 49

Social and economic factors, 35

Physical environment, 10

2016

Health outcomes and overall health, 31 out of 60 ranked counties

Length of life, 37

Quality of life, 32

Health factors, 42

Health behaviors, 52

Clinical care, 47

Social and economic factors, 36

Physical environment, 18

2015

Health outcomes and overall health, 45 out of 60 ranked counties

Length of life, 45

Quality of life, 42

Health factors, 45

Health behaviors, 60

Clinical care, 53

Social and economic factors, 28

Physical environment, 21

2014

Health outcomes and overall health, 47 out of 59 ranked counties

Length of life, 49

Quality of life, 41

Health factors, 43

Health behaviors, 57

Clinical care, 52

Social and economic factors, 28

Physical environment, 25

2013

Health outcomes and overall health, 44 out of 59 ranked counties

Length of life, 49

Quality of life, 41

Health factors, 47

Health behaviors, 59

Clinical care, 49

Social and economic factors, 27

Physical environment, 13

2012

Health outcomes and overall health, 50 out of 59 ranked counties

Length of life, 47

Quality of life, 51

Health factors, 49

Health behaviors, 59

Clinical care, 53

Social and economic factors, 33

Physical environment, 11

2011

Health outcomes and overall health, 44 out of 57 ranked counties

Length of life, 43

Quality of life, 47

Health factors, 45

Health behaviors, 55

Clinical care, 55

Social and economic factors, 31

Physical environment, 41

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute