KNOXVILLE — The 2021 Healthiest Communities rankings are in and three Iowa counties are among the nation’s 25 Top Communities for health care access.

The 2021 U.S. News Healthiest Communities analysis by U.S. News & World Report, in collaboration with the Aetna Foundation, recognized Marion, Cerro Gordo, and Johnson counties. A mix of urban and rural settings, all provide access to high-performing health care services. Each county is served by a MercyOne medical center, MercyOne affiliate or has access to MercyOne specialty services.

Counties are ranked in the study on three primary metrics including the percentage of people without health insurance, the availability of hospital beds to receive care and access to primary care providers to deliver care.

Marion County, served by MercyOne affiliate Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, ranked 23rd in access to care. Just more than 4% of county residents are uninsured compared to more than 10% nationally. The county has good access to primary care providers and specialty services. Access to adequate hospital beds is Marion County’s strength.

"It is an honor for Marion County to be named top 25 in the nation for access to primary care providers and specialty services. Along with Pella Regional Health Center, we work extremely hard to provide quality access to health care for the residents of Marion County and this recognition is a testament of our commitment," said Knoxville Hospital & Clinics CEO Kevin Kincaid. "At Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, our team of highly skilled providers and specialists are invested in the health and wellbeing of our patients. We know how important it is to provide quality health care close to home. Providing access to safe and compassionate care allows our patients to recover close to their home and families, and I couldn't be more proud of my staff's dedication to caring for the health of our patients."

“MercyOne congratulates the Iowa counties recognized by U.S. News & World Report as leaders in providing access to high-quality health care,” said MercyOne President and CEO Bob Ritz. “It is our privilege to serve these counties with MercyOne affiliates in which MercyOne is actively involved in helping to expand access to care. We are committed to setting the standard for a personalized and radically convenient care system of health services and to improving the lives of patients and communities across Iowa and beyond.”

Health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Census Bureau, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was used for the study. Eight-four other measures and social factors are also included in the analysis. Social factors including population health, equity in education, academic achievement, income, employment, food availability, quality housing and others, are being found to have a significant impact on health care access and overall quality of a person’s health. More than 3,000 counties are included in the study.

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