Grand Junction, McAllen contrasted: Better health brings lower costs

While Grand Junction has some of the highest-quality and lowest-cost heathcare in the nation, McAllen, Tex., has some of the lowest-quality and highest-cost. According to disease rates calculated by Daniel Gilden in "The Health Care Blog," McAllen is twice as unhealthy as Grand Junction.

That raises a question: Is Grand Junction merely lucky in a healthier population, or is its emphasis on prevention and coverage of the poor actually having a major effect on preventing these illnesses?

Below is Gilden's comparison of diseases -- ranging from diabetes to heart disease and arthritis -- between residents of the counties surrounding Grand Junction and McAllen.

Disease Prevalence among Medicare recipients, 2006

Single Selected Condition Rates per 1,000
McAllen, TexasGrand Junction, Colo.
Diabetes
422145
Ischemic Heart Disease
443211
Heart Failure
16874
Cerebro-Vascular Disease
20256
Chronic Respiratory Disease
266169
Arthritis
405239
Dementia
10751
Parkinson's Disease
2012

Multiple Conditions (Percentage of Population)
None of the Selected Conditions
23%46%
One Condition Only
22%30%
Multiple Conditions
55%24%


Source: TheHealthCareBlog.com Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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