Major Study: New Mexico Ranks Low in Providing for Healthy Outcomes and Women’s Reproductive Care and Women’s Health

On Sunday, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s press secretary announced that the governor would be leaving the state to travel to the Western Governors Association Annual Meeting, and “…is set to moderate a panel on Monday focused on rural health care delivery…”

There was no mention from the Governor’s team about another study placing New Mexico near the bottom of a list ranking states when it comes to health measures – including women’s reproductive health care.

Just a few days earlier, the Commonwealth Fund released its annual report entitled, “2023 Scorecard on State Health System Performance.”

New Mexico was amongst the states rated lowest in the study’s “composite measure capturing health outcomes and healthy behaviors.”

This annual report measures a state’s health system performance, “based on 58 measures of health care access, quality, use of services, costs, health disparities, reproductive care and women’s health, and health outcomes.”

According to the Commonwealth Fund, its modern day mission “is to promote a high-performing, equitable health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including people of color, people with low income, and those who are uninsured.”

The organization has been around since 1918 – almost as long as New Mexico has been a state.

The Candle has been reviewing the Commonwealth Fund’s report for the past few days and will publish a more expansive story about New Mexico’s health system soon.

For today, here are a few of the observations made in the Commonwealth Fund’s 2023 Report.

How States Rank on Health Outcomes and Healthy Behaviors

“Hawaii, Massachusetts, Utah, New Jersey, and Minnesota performed best overall on our composite measure capturing health outcomes and healthy behaviors.

“New Mexico, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, and West Virginia ranked the lowest. These states all had rates of premature mortality that were far above average and that increased dramatically during the pandemic, driven largely by COVID-19 and overdose deaths.”

“All states experienced large increases in avoidable deaths between 2019 and 2021, leading to substantial declines in life expectancy across the U.S. Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas stand apart: each experienced more than a 35 percent increase in avoidable mortality rates over this period. Arizona’s rate jumped the largest percentage, by 45 percent.”

The Lujan Grisham Administration has made a lot of news nationally regarding its efforts to protect reproductive rights. The Governor is given much credit for being outspoken and standing strong on issues impacting women’s access to abortion and other reproductive services.

However, according to the Commonwealth Fund’s extensive review of state by state health system performance relative to women’s health and reproductive care, New Mexico ranks among the bottom five states nationwide.

“The Scorecard’s new composite measure of reproductive care and women’s health includes 12 indicators of the quality and comprehensiveness of care that women, mothers, and infants receive and the health outcomes they experience. The full list of measures, including data sources and definitions, can be found in Appendix Table A1.”

“Massachusetts performed best on this key aspect of health system performance, with Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut also placing among the top five states. The lowest-ranked states are Oklahoma, Alaska, Texas, Mississippi, and New Mexico.”

More reporting to come.