It’s no secret that COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the country’s healthcare system, from supplies to staffing to bed counts, but issues have been far from uniform across the U.S.
A new report called States with the Best Health Infrastructure for Coronavirus, by WalletHub.com offers some insight.
To identify which states have the best health infrastructure, the company compared the 50 states across 14 key metrics. Its data set ranges from the state’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness funding per capita to the share of the population that is uninsured and the number of hospital beds per capita.
Here are some key findings:
Health Infrastructure in California (1=Best, 25=Avg.):
49th – Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) Funding Per Capita
43rd – Public Hospital System Quality
12th – Public Healthcare Spending per Capita
45th – Number of Hospital Beds per Capita
25th – Share of Uninsured Population
4th – Epidemiology Workforce per Capita
The website also discussed what states can do to improve their health infrastructure in response to the coronavirus, according to the WalletHub news release.
“States can improve their health infrastructure in response to coronavirus by planning for a second wave and by taking matters into their own hands when it comes to providing adequate equipment for healthcare workers and widespread testing for citizens,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst said in the release. “One of the best ways to safeguard citizens’ health is by pledging to offer a vaccine for free once one is developed. States should also improve their online healthcare resources to ensure that patients can smoothly communicate with healthcare workers and insurance providers while social distancing.”
Also while states work on improving their healthcare systems, they can do other things to prevent their current infrastructure from being overwhelmed
“In order to prevent their healthcare systems from being overwhelmed, states can turn their current social distancing guidelines into laws that require measures like wearing masks in public and limiting the number of people in an establishment. Minimizing the number of vulnerable individuals who get sick is absolutely critical, which means states must provide accommodations for them in all businesses, such as special hours not open to the public and free deliveries of essential items,” Gonzalez also said in the news release. “State governments must carefully monitor the number of coronavirus cases as they start to reopen businesses, and should not rush to reopen further if cases start to spike.”
Some might ask why North Dakota has the best health infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic and Gonzale explained.
“North Dakota has the best health infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic in part because it has some of the strongest online healthcare services in the country, allowing patients to smoothly and securely communicate with doctors and insurance providers remotely,” Gonzalez said in the release. “North Dakota’s public health emergency preparedness funding is one of the highest in the country, which ensures flexibility for the public health department at a time they need it the most.”