Public comment open for CT health planning data

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The state Department of Public Health is in the midst of planning for improving the health of every Connecticut resident in 2025. DPH regularly refreshes their plan through a very thoughtful process that is a model of inclusiveness and data-driven policymaking, especially for Connecticut. Other agencies should take note.

Right now, the draft State Health Assessment, the data foundation for the new plan, is out for public comment until November 21st. If you care about improving quality, access and controlling costs, you need to pay attention. Public health has a far better chance of achieving those goals than any of the shiny-new-toy healthcare reforms that are all the rage now.

The draft is impressive. If you are ever looking for data, look here first. In just the demographic chapter, there are deep dives into aging (which is slowing in CT), teen births (which are down), racial and ethnic diversity (up), immigration (CT is a bit higher than the US average, which surprised me), income distribution (CT is the third most unequal state), life expectancy (higher than US averages but plateauing as is the rest of the nation), years of potential life lost (unintentional injury leads the causes), affordability and stability of housing, food access, transportation, education, and social capital (which is fascinating. Not surprisingly, there is lots of variation by town, age, race/ethnicity, income, education, and other variables. Other chapters include maternal and child health, drinking water, chronic disease, infectious disease, behavioral health, injury and trauma, health systems, and climate and health. From the Health Systems chapter, heart failure is the greatest cause of preventable hospitalizations in our state, and the rates/causes vary significantly by race/ethnicity. About 16% of adult patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days.

Beware, you could get lost in the reports.