The Index is proving to be a useful resource to both state and county-based organizations.
For example, the state-level Index has been used to support legislative changes that will reduce the high prevalence of occupational licensing within a state, by adopting Universal Recognition, reducing the need for retraining for a number of occupations, which makes it easier to attract workers from out of state. The Index has also been used to press the case for relaxing excessive controls that restricts new healthcare providers from entering a state, leading to high healthcare costs.
The Index is also gaining considerable traction within the health community. The health pillar, containing 33 indicators, provides a comprehensive assessment of the overall health of each state and county. The Index also captures the social determinants of health – for example, those within the Living Conditions and the Natural Environment pillars – which impact health outcomes. To this end, the county-level Index is being used by Montana State University as part of its work in conducting the Community Needs Assessments of rural hospitals within the state. These assessments take into account the ‘up-stream’ services that contribute to health outcomes, many of which are contained within the Index, providing a rich source of information for these assessments.
Community foundations across multiple states, such as United Way Suncoast and the Montana Community Foundation, are using the county-Index to help identify the particular weaknesses within their communities to inform the areas that they need to give attention to. Finally, it is also being used to help assess the merits of grant applications made to foundations as part of its application assessment criteria.