Report: With new metrics related to COVID-19 response, Washington ranks 4th in nation for health system performance
For immediate release

Commonwealth Fund report assesses health care access and spending for all 50 states

OLYMPIA – Washington continues to perform among the top states in the nation for health care systems, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund.

For the first time, The Commonwealth Fund also reviewed how well states responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington ranked fourth in the nation in our overall response to COVID-19, and the report highlights Washington’s efforts around hospital staffing, vaccination rates, and preventing COVID-19 deaths among nursing home residents.

Washington is fourth in the nation overall on the 2022 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, which asks questions including:

  • Do Americans have good access to health care?
  • Are Americans getting the right health care, at the right time, and in the right setting?
  • How healthy is America?

Some of Washington’s top-ranked indicators and our ranking include:

  • Employee total potential out-of-pocket medical costs as a share of state median income (first in nation)
  • People with medical debt (fourth in nation)
  • Children ages 0-18 who are insured (ninth in nation)
  • Infant mortality (fifth in nation)
  • Avoidable hospital use and cost (seventh in nation)
  • Racial and ethnic equity (ninth in nation)

“The Commonwealth Fund data show Washington’s intentional efforts to build an affordable, accessible, and equitable health care delivery system are paying off,” said Health Care Authority (HCA) Director Sue Birch. “Many partners work together to help connect Washingtonians not just to coverage but high-quality care when they need it. We must continue innovating to better serve our state’s residents, including those with low incomes, who are living with behavioral health conditions, or are experiencing the impacts of the pandemic.”

In one example of Washington’s innovation, HCA is applying to renew and strengthen our Medicaid Transformation Project, a federal demonstration waiver that allows the state to use Medicaid dollars to develop projects that improve Washington’s health care system, such as housing, employment, substance use disorder, and supporting older adults and family caregivers.

“This ranking is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire ecosystem of health partners in Washington. The foundation of health is what continues to allow us to thrive, as well as strive toward a stronger future,” said State Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.