Vermont is “The Healthiest State in the Nation”

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first_imgUntitled Document Vermont is The HealthiestState in the Nation Montpelier (November 5, 2007) Vermont is the healthiest state in the nation, according to the 2007 edition of Americas Health Rankings, released today by the United Health Foundation. This is the first time Vermont has captured the top spot, climbing steadily from being ranked eighth in 2001. Vermont surpassed the previous leader Minnesota, which was ranked second this year.According to the United Health Foundation, Vermont is among the top 10 states in 14 of 20 measures. The states strengths include high immunization coverage with 86 percent of children between the ages of 19 to 35 months receiving complete immunizations, and a low premature death rate.The quality of care provided by Vermonts physicians and other health care providers is a significant reason for the states top ranking, said Paul Harrington, executive vice president of the Vermont Medical Society. Vermont physicians work extremely hard to make sure all their patients have the best possible health care, despite the fact that reimbursement rates here tend to be lower than other parts of the country. I think it really speaks to the dedication and skills of Vermonts physician community, he said.While about 10 percent of Vermonts population is uninsured (the ninth lowest rate in the country), Vermonts physicians do provide a large amount of free care to their patients who lack coverage and cannot afford to pay, noted Glen Neale, M.D., president of the Vermont Medical Society. Vermonts physicians are very generous with their time, because they realize the importance of everyone having access to good health care, he said. That is also evidenced by the fact that about 91 percent of Vermonts physicians participate in the states Medicaid program, despite reimbursement that is about half of what commercial insurers pay.The adequacy of prenatal care has been one area where Vermont has seen major improvements, going from 62.6 percent of pregnant women having adequate care in 1990 to 86.4 percent in 2007 (second highest in the nation). Infant mortality has dropped from 9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2007.The number of cardiovascular deaths has declined from 409 per 100,000 of population in 1990 to 287.9 per 100,000 in 2007. The number of cancer deaths has shrunk from 209.2 per 100,000 of population in 1990 to 195.4 per 100,000 in 2007.A number of public health factors have influenced Vermonts steady rise to the top of the rankings, the United Health Foundation said. For example, since 1990 the prevalence of smoking in Vermont has decreased from 30.7 percent to 18 percent of the adult population, and the incidence of infectious disease decreased from 20.3 to 6.4 cases per 100,000 population.Vermonts physicians have been working with the Vermont Department of Health and following guidelines for improving public health, Dr. Neale said. Being ranked the healthiest state in the nation is an indicator that our efforts are paying off.Reference: http://www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/ahr2007/states/Vermont.html(link is external)last_img

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