Report: Utah Healthcare Lagging in a Few Areas

Report: Utah Healthcare Lagging in a Few Areas

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Jed Boal ReportingOverall, healthcare in Utah is pretty good, but state health officials say we need to improve in a few critical areas.

A new report on the quality of our health care ranks Utah in the middle of the pack. The executive director of the Utah Department of Health put it this way, "It's like getting a ‘B' when you know you're an ‘A' student."

Three out of four Utahns say they have no problem getting the health care they need; that's close to the national average and we're a healthy state overall. Ratings released today by the State of Our Health program show Utah lags behind the nation in several key areas, though.

Dr. David Sundwall, Executive Director, Utah Department of Health: "They're interesting, but not alarming. We don't stand out particularly, but at the same time it's sobering because we're proud of our health care, and by other measures have exceeded national standards."

The concerns? According to the National Committee for Quality Assurance Utah is 40% below the national average for adolescents who got all their vaccinations by their 13th birthday. Women in Utah fall behind in screenings for breast cancer, colon cancer and cervical cancer.

Dr. David Sundwall, Executive Director, Utah Department of Health: "Some of the fundamental preventive health measures, we're not standing out of the crowd."

Measures that help prevent illness and save money and lives. Public and private healthcare professionals look for solutions.

LaDene Larsen, Director, Utah Bureau of Health Promotion: "Push home the need for secondary prevention, for disease management, for screening, all of those things we know work."

Collaboration among physicians, health plans, employers and everyone in the healthcare industry is critical.

Dr. David Sundwall, Executive Director, Utah Department of Health: "It's given me a stimulus to take a look. We need to rise to the national benchmarks that have been set."

The director of Healthcare Promotion says we all need to take charge of our health daily. She says we should eat healthy foods, exercise and avoid tobacco.

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