Survey: Hawaii County is Unhealthiest in State

Just as Hawaii Health Systems, the island’s chief hospital facilities provider, announced that shortfalls would force it to cut services and lay 0ff 87 employees in East Hawaii, a prestigious nonprofit released survey findings that rank Hawaii County dead last in the state for overall health.

Every five years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which bills itself as “the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated solely to health,” releases the results of a nationwide survey of health conditions, broken down by county. The latest survey ranks Hawaii County dead last in the state, behind Maui County, the City and County of Honolulu and Kauai County. The survey covered 32 factors that affected residents, health, and grouped those factors six general areas.  Hawaii ranked fourth out of the four counties in five of hose factors: length of life; quality of life; health behaviors such as drinking, smoking, obesity and inactivity;  clinical care, and social and economic factors. The only bright spot:  Hawaii ranked second in “Physical Environment.”

The foundation estimated that approximately 6,700 every 100,000 Hawaii County residents died prematurely. About 10 percent o county residents were without health insurance.  About 25 percent of the population were considered obese, about 45 percent of deaths in traffic accidents were found to be  alcohol-related and 22 percent of island residents drank excessively. Approximately 321 out of every 100,000 island residents had a sexually transmitted disease and on average, 22 out of every 1,000 girls between the age of 15 and 19 gave birth. Twenty-six percent of children in the county live in impoverished households, compared to 14 percent statewide. But Hawaii residents were found to be slightly less likely than their counterparts statewide to be victimized by violent crime; on average, 254  such crimes were committed per 100,000 residents here, versus 263 per 100,000 statewide.

According to the Foundation’s statistics,  there is one primary care physician for every 1,391 island residents the average statewide is one per every 1,045.


6 replies
  1. Sara Steiner
    Sara Steiner says:

    West Hawaii hospitals loosing funding also in paper this morning… State remembering now that Big Island is covered by active volcanoes (liability) and I can see how we are getting less and less appropriations, especially in Puna.

  2. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    Some of those statistics are even worse if you just looked at Puna, whose numbers pull down the districts with better stats. For example, at Puna Community Medical Center we see many more than 10% uninsured. At times that figure has been as high as 18% or more.

    I don’t think that it’s the very poor and on food stamps people driving these numbers, because they are insured through Medicaid and Quest. These are the working poor, who work off the books or only part time or at multiple part time jobs without benefits.

    I know some people who want to be off the radar and therefore don’t sign up for ObamaCare. Maybe they have a past that they don’t want to catch up with them. It’s unfortunate, because medical info is confidential and wouldn’t go to law enforcement agencies anyway, so their paranoia is depriving them of services they have a right to. If that is you or someone you know, please don’t deny yourself for reasons that are not valid.

  3. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Dear Renee – Your points are important. But I’m not sure that it is true that medical records are secure. I was ID ‘thefted’ last year and the only avenue through which it happened that I’ve been able to figure out was from info given for medical treatment.
    Since even the IRS has now been hacked, and as Robert Scheer expresses in his new book, little or no digital info is secure. Even if it is policy for medical providers to not cross reference patient info with authorities, the info is available if law enforcement (and who else?) wants.

  4. Rene Siracusa
    Rene Siracusa says:

    If that were true, then the govt snoopers know who you are anyway, so you might as well go to the doctor. If you attended school, ever had a drivers license, gotten a traffic ticket, etc. you are in the computer system. Hiding in the bushes doesn’t disappear you, so if you go to the clinic at least you will get treated.

  5. Puna Ohana
    Puna Ohana says:

    lol there’s free medical in jail..
    I dunno none of that list describes me, I’m healthy, rarely see a doctor, once? twice a year? Seems to be pretty damn healthy around here to me. A few people got rat lung but how many got shot? How many get the flu? Our stats are lower on many levels. Not a too toxic aina yet. If you don’t need treatment it’s best to stay away from death houses. People have lived to be over 100 without ever seeing a hospital. Puna may suck in a lot of ways but quality of life is what you make and we have a lot to work with here.
    And WTF is ” a prestigious nonprofit ” some ‘Foundation’ funded by who the Koch brothers? please…

  6. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    Dear Rene –
    You are right.
    And thank you for supporting and promoting community health care.
    But let’s not pretend the patient info is secure.
    See or hear today’s
    Law enforcement has total access to ‘confidential’ medical
    Privacy is a quaint idea.

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