PORTLAND, Maine — May 20, 2015 – America’s Health Rankings® has released its third annual Senior Report, a comprehensive analysis of senior population health on a national and state-by-state basis. Maine is now the 11th healthiest state for adults aged 65 and older – up from 14th in 2014 – and ranks first in the nation for clinical care, a category that includes seniors receiving recommended care for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical procedures. Several initiatives at MaineHealth have contributed to these successes by ensuring seniors receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time.
The Senior Report compares states on over 30 measures of senior health including health behaviors, community support, environmental factors, government policies and clinical care. According to U.S. Census Bureau, Maine has one of the highest proportions of older adults in the country. With the senior population expected to surge by 50% from 2015 to 2030, these measures will have an increasing impact on senior health outcomes.
“The findings of the Senior Report are consistent with the high-quality, high-value care being delivered across the MaineHealth system. Our success is due to dedicated teams whose primary focus is always the patient and family,” said Jeffrey Aalberg, MD, senior medical director for elder care and ambulatory and preventive health.
At MaineHealth, Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) practices connect older adults with preventive care such as health screenings and flu shots. Nurse care managers play an integral role in the PCMH model by helping patients follow their care plans and avoid hospital readmissions. According to the Senior Report, Maine’s 30-day hospital readmission rate is among the lowest in the country. Only Utah had a statistically lower rate, while 25 states (including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island) had statistically higher rates.
Maine ranked third in the country for ICU use – only 5.5% of decedents aged 65 and older spent seven or more days in the intensive care unit or critical care unit during the last six months of life. The MaineHealth Accountable Care Organization (MHACO) has been advancing this work by conducting training for all providers on advance planning and Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST), an approach to end-of-life planning that emphasizes patients’ wishes about the care they receive. Recent MHACO data shows a 26% reduction in patients with ICU stays during the last 90 days of life and a small increase in hospice use.
Dental care continues to be a challenge in Maine; only 61% of seniors reported they had received dental care in the last year. In fact, the Maine rate has dropped from 27th to 41st in the nation since 2013. To address this challenge, two MaineHealth member organizations – Pen Bay Healthcare and Waldo County Healthcare – partnered to provide dental care at the Knox County Clinic in Rockland and the Waldo County Dental Clinic. Alongside volunteer dentists, the clinics provide free care to hundreds of patients each year.
MaineHealth’s Health Index Initiative complements the Senior Report by offering more local-level data on preventable hospitalizations, tobacco use, and obesity. The 2015 Health Index Report and a link to the Senior Report are available at http://www.mainehealthindex.org/.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Franklin Community Health Network, LincolnHealth, Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Memorial Hospital, Pen Bay Healthcare, Southern Maine Health Care, Waldo County Healthcare, Western Maine Health, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Health, Mid Coast Health Services, New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland and St. Mary's Health System. www.mainehealth.org.
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