Report: Florida, Georgia ranked among worst in US for preventable deaths

'Deaths of despair' on rise, new state health system performance report shows

By Ashley Harding - Reporter, Melanie Schultz - Media content editor

Picture from The Commonwealth Fund's 2019 Scorecard on State Health System Performance

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An alarming new report shows the number of people dying from preventable causes in what has been dubbed as "deaths of despair" is on the rise.

When it comes to these preventable deaths, which include suicide, alcohol and drug overdoses, Florida and Georgia rank among the worst in the nation, according to the 2019 State Health System Performance report from The Commonwealth Fund.

The report looks at a number of factors and highlights the effects of the opioid crisis, the need for better access to health insurance and the fact that many Americans simply don't lead healthy lives.

Nationally, the rate of deadly drug overdoses has more than doubled between 2005 and 2017, with suicide rates up nearly 30 percent since 2005.

According to The Commonwealth Fund's annual scorecard, Florida ranks 44th in the nation in state health system performance with Georgia not far behind at 42.

Hawaii, Massachusetts and Minnesota are among the top ranked states with Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas at the bottom.

Many of these deaths should be preventable with timely and effective healthcare, according to The Commonwealth Fund.

Access to insurance is one of the key factors looked at in the group's annual report. Florida and Georgia are among the 17 states that have not expanded Medicaid, and the two are tied at 48th for uninsured adults between ages 19 and 64. Also, about 20 percent of black adults in Florida are uninsured, which is above the national average of 14 percent.

While the report may seem all gloom and doom, it does say progress is being made in some areas. This includes 14 million fewer adults skipping out on healthcare because of its cost as well as 11 million more adults are receiving recommended cancer screenings.

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