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Health Isn’t Always About Healthcare

the skyline of philadelphiaAs a part of the community in Philadelphia, the east coast team of Lopez McHugh is always interested in seeing what’s happening around us. Philly has been in the national spotlight a few times this year and our standing as a city and as a place to live, work, and play has been elevated by a number of high profile events and listings.

We’re among the top places in the country for shopping. We’ve been listed as one of the best places in the country to visit if you have a family. We’re one of the most walkable and most bikeable big cities in the nation and those things, among others, have contributed to our position as one of a few cities to watch in the future. The Pope is visiting. The next Democratic presidential candidate will be selected here when we host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

We’re also home to the some of the most prestigious medical schools in the country. The first hospital in the country was created here and one in every six doctors in the United States has received training in a Philadelphia school.

But, out of the 67 counties that make up the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia ranked number 67 in terms of overall health. Dead last.

How is that possible? It’s possible because the health of a community isn’t only tied to the healthcare available in that community. The ranking in question, put forth by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, takes four primary factors into account when ranking the health of a community:

Social and economic; the education of the community combined with other factors like employment, income, and the general safety of that community.

Health behaviors; things like drug use including alcohol and tobacco are taken into account as are exercise rates, diet, and safe sexual activity.

Clinical care; including access to the healthcare facilities in the area and the quality of the care those facilities provide.

And finally the physical environment takes things like air and water quality into account while also factoring in housing and the state of the region’s transit system.

Some of the best medical facilities in the world can’t compensate for the fact that Philadelphia is home to a failing school system and the highest poverty rate among the ten largest cities in the country. Education and socio-economic status are two of the biggest factors in determining the health behaviors of a population. And access to medical care, while improving under the Affordable Care Act, still has a long way to go for those who can’t afford its premiums or still fail to see the importance of regular medical follow-up.

We love being a part of the Philadelphia community, and attorneys and staff in our Philadelphia office as well as our New Jersey office are proud to call Philadelphia home. But we also know that our home, despite its rising reputation on the national stage, still has a long way to go before it can be considered “healthy.” For our part, we’ll continue to do everything we can to help it along the way.