Magazine article The Nation's Health

Iowa Tops Nation in Child Health Care Performance, Report Finds

Magazine article The Nation's Health

Iowa Tops Nation in Child Health Care Performance, Report Finds

Article excerpt

If every state's health system performed in the top tier, more than 4 million additional children would have health insurance, about 750,000 more children would be receiving five key vaccines, and nearly 11 million more children would have a medical home, according to a new report.

Released in May by the Commonwealth Fund, the report, "U.S. Variations in Child Health System Performance: A State Scorecard," found that although states are currently making attempts to improve their child health systems, some prove to have more success in their endeavors than others. Iowa led the nation in child health care performance with Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and Ohio close behind. Florida and Oklahoma rounded out the bottom with poor scores in several categories. The report ranked states based on five factors: access, quality, costs, potential to lead healthy lives and health equity among different ethnic and socioeconomic populations.

Regional patterns emerged showing similar trends in health care performance across geographic areas. For example, states in the north-central region of the United States tended to achieve higher standards than the southwestern region. Still, access to care and quality of child health care varied drastically from state to state. For example, in Michigan only 5 percent of children were uninsured, but 20 percent of children were uninsured in Texas.

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Gretchen Hageman, MD, the Iowa Department of Public Health's community health consultant, said federal grants, committed state funding and successful outreach programs have contributed greatly to helping the state reach high levels of access and quality in child health care. …

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