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Alabama Ranks Among Worst in Healthcare in the Nation But UAB is Among the Best

Healthcare has been the talk of nearly every political candidate, medical professional, and concerned citizen in recent history. With the passing and failure of Obamacare and the GOP’s failure to effectively repeal and replace it, many Americans face increasing uncertainty surrounding their healthcare options. It is estimated that the average American spends more than $10,000 a year on personal health care, and that number continues to increase. Our system is collapsing and needs fixing, and nowhere is this more evident than in our own backyard.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, Alabama ranks near the bottom on a list of the best states for health care. The study, conducted by a personal finance website WalletHub, places the Yellowhammer State as 44th out of the 50 states and D.C. What is interesting is that the entire southeast falls in the same boat, with Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi ranked 40th, 43rd, 46th, and 50th respectively.

WalletHub used 35 metrics that were graded on a 100-point scale and weighted differently. Each metric was scored based on three dimensions – cost, access, and outcomes. They used these metrics to compile an average score to rank each state. Alabama scored a total of 45.45 points. Here’s how Alabama stacked up in some of the metrics:

    • 19th – Average monthly insurance premium
    • 17th – Hospital beds per capita
    • 20th – Percent of insured children from birth to age 17
    • 17th – Percent of at-risk adults with no routine doctor visit in past two years
    • 19th – Percent of adults with no dental visit in past year
    • 35th – Percent of medical residents retained

According to the BBJ, Alabama “ranked in the bottom five states for the fewest dentists per capita, the highest infant mortality rate and the highest heart disease rate.”

In spite of Alabama’s low rankings overall, UAB hospital is a definite bright spot.  It continues to rank No. 1 in the state, and according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” nine of UAB’s specialties rank among the nation’s top 50 programs in the country, with three ranking in the top 20.  Moreover,  UAB’s spot in the national rankings isn’t a new trend. The renowned medical centers have had programs ranked in top U.S. News & World Report top hospitals lists for over 20 years.

Those nine specialties and their 2016-2017 ranks are:

• Diabetes & Endocrinology – No. 30
• Ear, Nose & Throat – No. 29
• Gynecology – No. 16
• Urology – No. 49
• Neurology & Neurosurgery – No. 25
• Rheumatology – No. 11
• Nephrology – No. 20
• Cardiology & Heart Surgery – No. 37
• Pulmonology – No. 29

U.S. News & World Report began publishing hospital rankings in 1990 to identify the best medical centers for patients with the most challenging and unusual illnesses.

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