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    DHMH establishes State Health Improvement Process targets for 2017 
    Updated goals in 5 vision areas in which to advance Marylanders' health

    BALTIMORE – (April 22, 2015) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has released new targets for improving the health of Marylanders by 2017, as part of its State Health Improvement Process (SHIP). SHIP contains 39 health measures in five vision areas – healthy beginnings, healthy living, healthy communities, access to health care, and quality preventive care.
    “These 2017 targets set ambitious goals for all 39 measures,” DHMH Secretary Van Mitchell says. “It is important to have advancing standards for the state’s public health and to build on the success Maryland has seen in recent years.” The goals were established based on national, Healthy People 2020 objectives and through consultation with various program offices within DHMH and other state agencies.
    Last year, Maryland was the most improved state listed in The UnitedHealth Foundation’s annual “America’s Health Rankings,” improving its ranking by eight positions.
    The Office of Population Health Improvement (OPHI) at DHMH launched SHIP in 2011 to provide a framework for accountability, local action, and public engagement to advance the health of Maryland residents. The goals of SHIP are to enable communities to identify critical health needs and to implement evidence-based strategies for change using a common platform to measure success. Local Health Improvement Coalitions, which cover all Maryland counties, bring together local government officials, health departments, hospitals, physicians, non-profits, faith-based organizations and others to collaborate and align efforts to meet SHIP targets. At the 2011 launch, targets for improvement were set for 2014. The target goal for 2014 or statistically significant improvement toward the goal was seen in 28 measures.
    For the 2017 targets, some measures have been removed or revised, and three measures have been added. The three new measures are: (1) increase the percentage of adults with a usual primary care provider, (2) reduce the percentage of uninsured emergency department visits, and (3) reduce dental-related emergency department visits. These changes reflect the changing health care environment in Maryland, including the expansion of insurance coverage and the transformation of the health care delivery system to focus on value rather than volume. Overall, the measures maintain a focus on the wide range of factors that impact health from birth to late adulthood.
    The SHIP data dashboard contains county-level SHIP measures, the new targets for 2017, and an interactive atlas allowing for comparisons across counties. It also contains information on promising, evidence-based practices for health improvement across the 39 measures. The dashboard may be accessed at http://pophealth.dhmh.maryland.gov. For more information on SHIP, contact Russ Montgomery at russ.montgomery@maryland.gov.
    The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is the state government agency that protects Maryland’s public health and also works to help Marylanders make better health decisions for better health outcomes. Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH andwww.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH.