Olmsted County ranked #1 nationwide for access to health care

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(ABC 6 News) – Olmsted County ranked #1 in access to health care nationwide, according to a U.S. News and World and CVS Health report.

Part of the reason for that number one ranking is its access to primary care providers. Olmsted County’s access is much higher than the national average.

People living in the area say they are not surprised Olmsted is ranked first.

"This is the Med City, this is what we’re used to. This is supposed to be the area where people come for their health care all over the world," Olmsted County resident Ashlea Mcleod said.

People from other areas of the state echoed the same thought.

"I have been coming here for cancer treatments and a stem cell transplant four years ago and it’s done me well," Leroy Kithuth, a patient at the Mayo Clinic, said.

According to the report, about 5.5% of Olmsted County residents do not have insurance, compared with the national average of 11%.

Regardless, some still say more needs to be done to make health care more accessible.

"There is good access, but it has its limitations," said Dan Fifield, the co-founder of the Landing. The Landing is a non-profit that helps people experiencing homelessness.

Fifield says for people without insurance or the ability to get to clinic appointments, health care can be expensive and nearly impossible. That’s why The Landing partnered with the Mayo Clinic Ambulance Community Paramedicine Program, which provides volunteer medical care a few days a week. This makes these otherwise inaccessible services possible.

While there are always improvements to be made, people in Olmsted County can feel good knowing that the health care access here is better than anywhere else in the country.

"I think the access is great and we’re used to it," Mcleod added.

According to the report, MN was the most heavily represented state to make the list of the "Top 500 Healthiest counties" with a total of 60 counties making the list.