How Prepared Is Your State for COVID-19?

Commonwealth Fund Study Supported by Westat Shows Challenges for Each State

A recent Commonwealth Fund post shows the underlying challenges each state’s health system faces against the novel coronavirus. Westat Senior Study Director David Radley, Ph.D., notes that these state-level tables are a valuable resource for policymakers and other stakeholders to deploy as they mobilize the response to COVID-19.

In collaboration with the Fund’s staff, Dr. Radley, scientific lead of internal research, conducts analyses and develops material for the Commonwealth Fund’s Tracking Health System Performance program. The March 25, 2020, post focuses on challenges to COVID-19: Assessing Underlying State Conditions and Ramp-Up Challenges for the COVID-19 Response. It notes that location is everything: “Where Americans live is a strong predictor of the care available to them and their expected health outcomes.”

The analysis pulls data from several federal sources, including the Area Health Resource File, the American Community Survey, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, to provide state-by-state information on

  • Health risk factors of the population (age, chronic illness, homelessness)
  • Structural capacity (public health spending; hospital resources; clinician capacity)
  • Coverage and cost-related access (Medicaid expansion; uninsured; out-of-pocket cost exposure)

As the authors conclude, the tables “offer a preliminary and early warning of the differential challenges and risks that may affect states in the weeks ahead. They also may help identify vulnerable states where targeted federal support will be critical.”

With this quickly changing environment of the pandemic, Dr. Radley notes that Westat will continue to support the Commonwealth Fund’s analyses that drill down into the latest data on more granular levels, examining how communities and various demographics are impacted by COVID-19.

Where Americans live is a strong predictor of the care available to them and their expected health outcomes.

- Commonwealth Fund

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