States across the country are grappling with a widespread surge in preventable deaths and unaddressed mental health needs — particularly in adolescents — according to the Commonwealth Fund’s 2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance.
All states experienced large increases in avoidable deaths from 2019 to 2021, due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several states, however, stood out: Rates in Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and New Mexico surged more than 35 percent, while Arizona’s rate rose by 45 percent, the largest increase. Black and American Indian/Alaska Native people, two of the groups most affected by COVID-19, experienced some of the highest rates of avoidable mortality in many states.
For the first time, the scorecard, which annually ranks states’ health care systems based on how well they provide high-quality, accessible, and equitable health care, also includes measures to evaluate their performance on reproductive care and women’s health. The 12 measures assess prenatal and postpartum care access, reproductive cancer screenings and other preventive services, and women’s overall health outcomes and mortality rates.