Arkansas receives an overall ranking of 44th out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia in The Commonwealth Fund’s recently released 2022 Scorecard on State Health System Performance. Arkansas was ranked 42nd in the previous scorecard, released in 2020, but this year’s report is generally based on 2020 data and includes several performance measures, some related to the COVID-19 pandemic, that were not in the previous report or have been revised.
Regionally, Arkansas is ranked 10th among 12 Southeastern states. It was ranked sixth in the 2020 report.
The 2022 report provides a state-by-state ranking of 49 distinct health indicators across categories related to access and affordability, prevention and treatment, avoidable hospital use and cost, healthy lives, and income disparity for the most recent year of data available for all measures. New to this report are rankings for COVID-19 measures and racial/ethnic disparity measures.
Measures contributing to Arkansas’s low overall performance include the number of adults who have lost six or more teeth, adults without dental visits, and premature deaths from treatable causes — all measures for which Arkansas is ranked last among states. A recent ACHI report offers additional detail on dental access challenges in Arkansas.
Measures for which the state’s rankings worsened the most since the last report included the number of children who are overweight or obese, the number of adults with any mental illness reporting unmet needs, and preventable hospitalizations for adults ages 18–64.
Arkansas achieved its best rankings for the following measures:
Although employer-sponsored insurance spending per enrollee is low in Arkansas, it has not historically translated into insurance affordability, as evidenced by the state’s ranking of 41st for employee insurance costs as a share of median income.
Arkansas ranked below the national average for five of the scorecard’s seven measures related to COVID-19 vaccination, deaths, and hospitalizations. Among them were:
Some promising components of the report include:
Some concerns in the report include:
The 2022 report included state racial and ethnic health equity rankings. These measures reflect racial and ethnic disparities in Arkansas for populations of color, specifically Black and Latinx/Hispanic communities. Key insights from this section included: