Newsletter April 2019

Utilization Management & Integrated Care

Skye Pletcher

Director of Utilization and Care Management

During the month of March the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin released the latest      County Health Rankings data “which helps counties understand what influences how healthy residents are and how long they will live.” One of the most unique aspects of the County Health Rankings is that it looks at the differences that exist in terms of opportunities and resources for people to experience better health, which is known as health disparities.

Some of the factors that affect the health of communities and contribute to greater health disparities are things such as high school graduation rates, access to healthy foods, income/poverty level, and access to safe and affordable housing. There are fewer opportunities and resources for better health among groups that have been historically marginalized, including people of color, people living in poverty, people with physical or mental disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and women. In fact, one of the largest health disparities that exists in the U.S. currently is that individuals with serious mental illness on average die 25 years earlier than others ( The County Health Rankings data highlights significant need in our region related to the following factors that influence health:

  • Tobacco
  • Obesity
  • Access to Safe and Affordable Housing
  • High Percentage of Children Living in Poverty 

The County Health Rankings data is a powerful tool to give us greater insight into areas of strength in our region as well as areas of need. By better understanding the factors that contribute to the poor health outcomes for the people we serve, we are better equipped to develop meaningful population health and integrated care strategies that can make a difference. 

For Michigan's County Health Rankings:

For further information, please contact Skye at