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Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

November 12, 2004

Report: Despite high spending, New York lags other states in overall health

New York State falls behind most other states in overall health despite spending more on Medicaid and other health-care programs, a national study has found.

The report, by the United Health Foundation, shows that New York scores well on health-related factors such as rate of motor vehicle deaths and occupational fatalities. However, in areas that might be directly affected by government spending – such as adequacy of prenatal health care – the Empire State performs poorly.

In New York, “challenges include a high incidence of infectious disease with 50.6 cases per 100,000 population, low access to adequate prenatal care with only 68.5 percent pregnant women receiving adequate prenatal care and a high percentage of children in poverty at 19.9 percent of persons under age 18,” the report said.

On one key measure of overall health, adequate prenatal care, New York ranked in the bottom ten, number 44. The percentage of women in New York receiving prenatal care ranked below the national average at 68.5 percent, compared to 76.2 percent at the national level. In addition, the report found that only 56 percent of African-American women received adequate prenatal care, compared to a national average of 66 percent.

New York's overall ranking of 31st among the states was determined by its rank on 18 individual factors including: prevalence of smoking as a percent of population (20th); motor vehicle deaths per 100 million miles driven (6th); high-school graduation as a percent of incoming ninth graders (39th); violent crime offenses per 100,000 population (34th); percent of population uninsured (30th); infectious disease cases per 100,000 population (50th); percent of persons in poverty under age 18 (40th); occupational fatalities per 100,000 workers (8th); percent of health dollars for public health (24th); per capita public health spending (9th); adequacy of prenatal care (44th); limited activity days (28th); cardiovascular deaths per 100,000 (35th); cancer deaths per 100,000 (12th), infant mortality deaths per 1,000 live births (19th); and premature death per 100,000 population (19th).

U.S. Census Bureau data show New York's 2002 per capita spending on hospitals and health as $462, or 66 percent above the national average of $305.

The report found that New York has improved in areas not affected by state health-care spending, such as high-school graduation rates and the violent crime rate.

A table comparing New York's health care to the nation can be found at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/shr2004/states/NewYork.html.

The complete report is available at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.