Children's Health Rankings: Some Surprises

There were few shocks in the Commonwealth Fund's first-ever state-by-state "scorecard" on children's health systems. Based on 13 criteria, the overall leaders were Vermont ...
May 29, 2008
 

There were few shocks in the Commonwealth Fund's first-ever state-by-state "scorecard" on children's health systems. Based on 13 criteria, the overall leaders were Vermont and Iowa--no surprise there.

But who were the laggards? Arkansas was 48th, Mississippi 49th--again no surprise. But guess who's sitting in 50th place? Florida--a state with a vibrant and forward-looking economy; a sophisticated state with a lot of political savvy. An influential state: Other states take notice of what Florida is doing. Hopefully, not in children's health.

Where did Florida fall down? Mostly in access to care--the percent of uninsured children is 18.5, while the state median is 9.1.  There were also failings in quality--only 73.5 percent of children 19 to 35 months old get their five key vaccines; the state median is 81.6, and the top states average 88.3. Florida is also doing poorly when it comes to  referring kids with special needs to specialty care.

Not all the surprises were negative. Alabama, Florida's neighbor to the north, eked out a ranking of 14. Its strongest suit: insuring its children--only 6 percent are uninsured. It also ranked well on most of the quality-ofcare criteria.

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