Oregon Did Better With COVID Than All but Four States

A new study from the Commonwealth Fund gives Oregon high marks for pandemic response, lower scores on other aspects of health care.

SUCCESS: Gov. Kate Brown flanked by Tobias Read and Shemia Fagan at an April bill signing. (Brian Brose)

The Commonwealth Fund released new data June 16 that shows, among other things, that Oregon experienced better outcomes from the COVID-19 pandemic than all but four states.

The century-old fund, based in New York, exists to promote better health care in the U.S. It provides a wealth of data on each state’s efforts in regular reports. For COVID-19, its researchers considered seven indicators, including vaccination rates, hospitalization rates and deaths. Only Hawaii, Maine, Vermont and Washington ranked higher than Oregon.

Overall, based on dozens of indicators, Oregon’s heath care system ranks 14th-best in the nation, but in some areas, we are an outlier: Oregon ranked better than one other state in terms of hospital staffing shortages during the pandemic but 48th, nearly worst, in “inappropriate lower back imaging,” i.e., doctors ordering too many tests, and 47th in the disparity between low income and higher income “adults who have lost six or more teeth.” In terms of the percentage of adults who have lost six or more teeth, Oregon ranks 22rd. (Portland remains one of the few major U.S. cities without fluoridated water.)

Correction: This story originally said Oregon ranks 47th in the number of adults who have lost six or more teeth. In fact, it ranks 22nd on that indicator and 47th in terms of the disparity between low income and high income Oregonians on that indicator. WW regrets the error.

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