President’s Letter

Better, But Not Good Enough

In December, the United Health Foundation released the 2017 America’s Health Rankings Annual Report, the longest-running annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis.

The good news is that Indiana improved its overall ranking. The bad news is we only moved up one spot, from 39th out of the 50 states to 38th. That’s not nearly good enough.

In the past year, drug deaths have increased 7 percent from 16.7 to 17.9 deaths per 100,000 population — a 108 percent increase since 2007. The percentage of obese adults increased from 31.3 percent to 32.5 percent. While smoking prevalence is decreasing nationwide, more adult Hoosiers (21.1 percent) are lighting up today than they did a year ago (20.6 percent). And we still rank 42nd in infant mortality; approximately 7 out of every 1,000 infants in Indiana die before their first birthday.

It’s important to look beyond the rankings and consider the strengths of Indiana health care. Our dedicated health care professionals are highly regarded across the country, with many serving in key leadership roles in the nation’s capital. Our hospitals are leading in efforts to improve quality and patient safety and bend the cost curve in innovative ways.

Nonetheless, we can do better. And we must do better.

Today’s hospitals do more than provide care; we promote the health and well-being of our communities. I invite you to join us and support the work of the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana as we strive to reduce tobacco use, opioid abuse, obesity, and infant morality.

I look forward to working with 2018 IHA Chairman Kreg Gruber as we tackle these issues and the many others that are sure to arise throughout the year. Kreg has more than two decades of health care experience and is known as a transformative thinker and trusted colleague. As he has said many times, when it comes to health care, good is not good enough. I have no doubt Kreg’s dedication to excellence will serve us well as he guides IHA through whatever the year may bring.

As always, I thank you for your continued commitment and support. You inspire me day in and day out, and I am proud to partner with you in our shared goal to improve Hoosier health. Please feel free to reach out to any member of the IHA team with your thoughts, suggestions, or ideas on how we can accomplish that goal.