The scorecard evaluates states on 47 indicators of health in five areas: access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and hospital cost, health outcomes and healthy lives,which includes measures on premature death, health status and risky behaviors. This is the Commonwealth Fund's seventh scorecard, with the first one released in 2007.
From 2005 to 2017, the report shows that deaths from drug overdoses went up 115%, deaths from alcohol increased 37% and deaths from suicide increased 28%. In every state, deaths from those causes have risen at least 3 percent since 2005.
"Drug overdose mortality is disproportionately impacting states in the eastern part of the country and suicide and alcohol related deaths are occurring at higher rates in the west," David Radley, senior scientist at The Commonwealth Fund and lead author of the study, said during a press conference.
“What we're seeing is a regional epidemic when it comes to premature deaths from suicide, alcohol, and drugs," Dr. David Blumenthal, president of The Commonwealth Fund, said in the news release. "It's going to take solutions that meet local need, and greater cooperation across all sectors -- at both the federal and state level -- to end the crisis that is shortening life expectancy in the United States."
For the first time, the scorecard also includes regional comparisons. The Commonwealth Fund also has a data center (datacenter.commonwealthfund.org) that allows users to explore state health system performance and policy data through custom tables, graphs and maps.